Young Aussies targeted in massive private health shake-up

Cornelia Mascio
Ottobre 13, 2017

Young Australians who sign up to private health cover will benefit from discounts on their premium under sweeping Turnbull government reforms created to entice more young people into the system and slow the rising cost of health insurance.

The ABC reports that insurance premiums have increased by an average 5.6 percent a year since 2010.

Premium discounts will accrue by 2 percent for every year until a person turns 30, up to a maximum discount of 10 per cent.

Currently, the government has a 2% annual loading on premiums for anyone who fails to take out a premium after 30.

Benefits will not be available for a range of natural therapies.

The changes will also see health insurance offers categorised into Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic levels in a bid to make it easier for consumers to compare policies. It is expected to lower premiums from April 2018.

He claims it's the biggest private health insurance reform in 15 years and is just the first round.

"That's significant, but set against the $1.5 billion in total health claims we paid members past year, it's not a game changer", Mr Van Der Wielen said.

The government also said the private health cover reforms would make mental health services easier to access.

"For far too long, Australians have unjustifiably paid the highest prices in the world for medical prostheses".

Dr Crombie also praised the focus on mental health and the medal-style ratings system for policies.

About 90 per cent of day admissions for mental health are now paid for through private health insurance, and 50 per cent of all mental health admissions.

Matthew Koce, CEO of peak body HIRMMA, representing 24 not-for-profit and member-owned health funds, said prostheses accounts for around 14% of the cost of an average hospital policy.

The Government is also tipped to upgrade its private health insurance ombudsman website.

"We also welcome the efforts to deliver further savings for consumers by improving informed financial consent obligations in public hospitals and improving transparency to address excessive out of pocket charges imposed by some medical specialists".

Matthew Koce said the minister's changes are welcome relief for more than 11 million Australians with private health insurance.

The ABC believes the Government plans on generating savings of about $300 million a year through the measure, starting next year, with the money ploughed back in reducing premiums for customers.

People will get the option to increase their excess - $750 for singles and $1500 for families - in exchange for lower premiums.

The government signs off on premium increases as the regulator.

"These are matters for the private sector, but they have guaranteed that they will pass through every dollar", Hunt said.

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