22nd Sep 2016
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Australia’s private health care system needs reform
Australia’s private health care system needs reform

Pricing sensitivity research suggests that, within six years, private health insurance will become unaffordable for more than one-fifth of people currently paying for private health insurance. Public hospital waiting times have doubled on average since 2000 and, when this tipping point is reached, public hospitals will be in trouble.

Australia’s private health cover costs are among the highest in the world, with a family of four paying $588 per month with Bupa Australia. In comparison, the same premium for a family of four in Britain is $176, New Zealand $286 and Ireland $413. While the systems may be setup differently, Britain and Australia both spend around 9 per cent of GDP on health.

The Turnbull Government acknowledged during the election campaign that the feeling among the 13 million private health consumers in Australia is that they are “not getting value for money from their policy”.

The president of Private Healthcare Australia and Managing Director of HBF Health, Rob Bransby, has called on the Federal Government to address the "sick" private health insurance system that is in need of urgent reform.

In a piece in The Australian on Monday, Mr Bransby outlined that, while household income remains stagnant, health inflation increases by 6–7 per cent each year, which contributes to the price increases.

Mr Bransby also pointed out that, due to Government price fixing, Australia’s private patients pay the highest prices in the world for medical devices. Health Minister Sussan Ley and her department are reviewing both the private health insurance sector and the Prostheses List, but until regulated medical device benefits come into line with market prices, health fund members will continue to be overcharged.

The Rudd Labor Government made changes that tied the rebate on health fund premiums received by low and middle incomes to the consumer price index, not health inflation. This change has seen a 30 per cent rebate fall to 28 per cent and this figure is expected to continue dropping over the coming years, adding to the unaffordability of private health insurance.

Read more at www.smh.com.au

Opinion: Older Australians hit hardest

It comes as no surprise that Australians aged over 60 are more likely to need a hospital visit than those under 60. As we age, our health deteriorates, and that only enhances the need for private health insurance. But for older Australians living on an Age Pension, private health insurance has become, or is becoming, a luxury they just can’t afford.

The statistics presented by Private Healthcare Australia President Rob Bransby are damning, with 20 per cent of current private health insurance consumers expected to not be able to afford cover within six years. No doubt, a large portion of these consumers are older Australians.

Up until now, Australia’s private health system has eased the burden on the public system. Should Australians be unable to afford private health care, the public health system would eventually be crippled. Neither the Government nor private health insurance companies have clean hands when it comes to our private health system’s woes, but it does appear that both parties are willing to discuss how to fix it. Let’s just hope these discussions go a little faster than those on superannuation reform!

Did you recently give up your private health insurance due to increasing costs? What is a reasonable price to pay for private health insurance? Should pensioners be offered a more affordable rate based on their pension status?

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    COMMENTS

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    dstark
    22nd Sep 2016
    10:18am
    Prof Borrie in his 1973 report on Australia's ageing population highlighted - 43 years ago - the problems that we are now facing. Let's stop thinking the government owes us a comfortable retirement, that has been something we should have been proving for ourselves.
    LENYJAC
    22nd Sep 2016
    12:40pm
    WELL THEN THE BLOODY GOVERNMENT SHOULD LOOK AT THEMSELVES,,,THE GREEDY BASTARDS???????
    Rae
    22nd Sep 2016
    12:59pm
    Well I've been in a private health for 66 years now as I went from the family cover with mum and dad to my own cover.

    I've paid tens of thousands of dollars to the fund and it is time the fund and the government sorted their responsibilities out.

    I do not expect the government to provide for me but I do expect the insurance industry being paid good money to do their job.

    If privitisation is so bloody good then the government should get out of the way and prove it.

    So far it is a dog's breakfast. A lousy public and a lousy private system. Neither works.

    Howard was bringing in 300 000 new immigrants a year and encouraging a further 250 000 new babies to be born each year.

    Nothing to do with the ageing population that was already here.

    The government did no planning for all these extra millions of people. No extra hospitals and very few extra schools.

    Government policy created this mess so government policy needs to fix it up.

    I buy a cream overseas in a 30mg tube for $4.60US.

    Here I have to visit the doctor and pay $67 to her, some comes back from medicare. Then I pay $32.00 AU for a 5mg tube here.

    It is a nonsense.

    The government deregulates and privatises like crazy to help out rich mates but for ordinary workers and taxpayers they regulate our prices to be the highest in the world.

    I'm over it. Not happy Jan at all.

    You can mumble about providing for ourselves and I certainly have but I'm damn sick of this government ripping me off.

    They need to go if they can't sort the mess out.

    Susan Ley needs to go. She is useless.
    Jillian Skinner needs to go in NSW. Killing babies and old people through negligence is appalling.
    GeorgeM
    22nd Sep 2016
    8:18pm
    Besides being very expensive, the big problem is that there are gaps. If it is insurance, there should be no gaps other than any agreed Excess.

    The Govt needs a kick up their back-sides to make the "insurance" work, by removing gaps, controlling price increases to CPI (with rare exceptions only) as health care is an essential service, as well as reducing prices by removing Govt-induced price increases. Besides asking questions in such articles, will YLC send suggestions or a petition to Govt?
    nena
    23rd Sep 2016
    9:49pm
    That is right. Private Health Insurers (and any other Insurer) increase the premiums and then the GAPS also are higher. We are just a commodity for Insurer companies get richer by the minute. That is the way they provided a high slice for their COMFORTABLE retirement, ripping off the vulnerable hard worker.
    OlderandWiser
    24th Sep 2016
    7:33am
    ''Let's stop thinking the government owes us a comfortable retirement, that has been something we should have been proving for ourselves.''

    You must be high on something, dstark! How many of us DID provide for our retirement, but economic mismanagement decimated our savings and unfair legislative changes that the government got elected by promising NOT to make left hundreds of thousands totally screwed.
    nena
    25th Sep 2016
    10:44am
    Rainey: tu quoque, fili mi! Provided a COMFORTABLE retirement for yourself...How?
    johnny
    22nd Sep 2016
    11:17am
    All insurances are expensive, because the insurance companies are greedy. They only return 10 percent of what they receive. If that goes up, the premiums will go up.
    Queensland Diva
    22nd Sep 2016
    11:20am
    We currently have private health insurance, but will be retiring next year and will seriously have to consider giving it up. It is an exorbitant cost and one which I just cannot see us being able to absorb.
    Troubadour
    22nd Sep 2016
    3:04pm
    Yes we have been in Private Health Insurance since arriving in Australia some 42 years ago, so therefore have paid in many, many thousands of dollars - yes we have had some back but nowhere near as much as we have paid in BUT as we age and on a pension it is becoming a strain paying all this money out - YET one wonders if the minute you back out you will need it. One hears so many conflicting stories about Public Health - difficult knowing what to do.
    particolor
    22nd Sep 2016
    7:38pm
    Be Cautious !! Murphy's Law may prevail !!:-(
    OlderandWiser
    24th Sep 2016
    6:42am
    I gave it up after surgery that cost thousands of dollars in excess and had to be redone because it was botched. First round in private hospital cost a fortune in excess and the care was appalling. Wait time 12 weeks. Second round went public at no cost and the care was first class. Wait time 3 weeks.

    I was freaked out when a father of 4 young children quit his health insurance. When his wife was diagnosed with cancer a year later he declared quitting was the best thing he could ever have done. He'd have been bankrupt paying excesses if she'd had private cover, but the public system gave her amazingly good care - all free.

    The system is certainly broken!
    jackyd
    22nd Sep 2016
    11:42am
    Insurance companies are the lowest of all corporate scrum on earth. Not even understanding the fine print will protect the client when making a substantial claim as they will screw the claimant down with nonsense and arrogance.
    That's is the point when the client is all alone with little or no consumer protection and facing a long and drawn out legal battle to correct the wrong often leading to an unsatisfactory compromise.
    Just the thing one needs to go through when elderly and sick.
    Baby Huey
    22nd Sep 2016
    12:01pm
    Just like the banks the private health insurers rip Australians off.
    nena
    23rd Sep 2016
    9:47pm
    That is right. Private Health Insurers (and any other Insurer) increase the premiums and then the GAPS also are higher. We are just a commodity for Insurer company get richer by the minute. That is the way they provided a high slice for their retirement, ripping of the vulnerable hard worker.
    Mar
    22nd Sep 2016
    12:01pm
    Had to give up health insurance after being with the same firm since 1964 because I couldn't keep paying it after my husband passed away. I was offered no alternatives at all after all that time. Since then I've had a fall, a shoulder replacement and other health issues and had to wait months for appointments to see specialists and 18 months in constant pain for a shoulder replacement.There should definitely be a more affordable solution for pensioners who cannot continue to pay the ever increasing costs.
    KSS
    22nd Sep 2016
    12:14pm
    There is already an affordable solution for pensioners Mar, its called the public health system.
    Rae
    22nd Sep 2016
    1:06pm
    Actually KSS is correct. If we only had a public system that worked it would be much better.

    Even paying into a fund for a better level of care but that fund being taxpayer owned not for profit would work.

    Like it did before Howard stuffed it up.

    You could actually get treatment with no gap.
    Old Geezer
    22nd Sep 2016
    1:58pm
    I try to avoid the public system like the plague myself.
    Tom Tank
    22nd Sep 2016
    2:19pm
    I suspect KSS that Mar went through the public health system.
    If the government put the money they currently provide, via the rebate for Private Health Cover, into the public system, it is taxpayer's money after all, then our public system would be much better.
    It has been the LNP's desire to move us to an American type heath care system that is fundamental to the issues we have now.
    Prior to Medibank Private being privatised there was a least one health care fund that acted as a restraint on the others. Now it is open slather re profit taking at our expense.
    Rae
    22nd Sep 2016
    2:21pm
    You are not wrong OG. The superbugs in the hospital actually killed my Dad. The death certificate listed cancer as he was an asbestos worker but the slow growing tumour was never going to kill him.
    He broke a hip had surgery and got a superbug.

    Even then they stuffed up the isolation. It was a complete fiasco.

    But the system worked before Howard OG. We paid private health and got it. Not like now where you pay and hope you might get it if it isn't regulated out of the policy.

    I know you can shop around because you have said so. I'm fortunate not to have had to test that one out. It does amaze me though how many private specialists have their own clinics knowing full well they are not covered by medicare or private cover.

    For a government hell bent on deregulation this nonsense is pretty hypocritical.
    Old Geezer
    22nd Sep 2016
    2:32pm
    When I make an appointment I always ask if I will be fully covered by my private insurance as well as how much the visit will cost and what is refunded from Medicare. Some receptionists get annoyed with me that I dared to ask but I feel that it is my right. I have to have a yearly test for my peace of mind that is expensive and not covered by Medicare.

    I know a fellow that has had 2 operations in the public system and both have resulted in bad infections from those bugs.

    I myself was in a public system and had to wait on a chair in a shared ward for a doctor so I could go home. There were two other patients one had had a hip replacement and in the next bed barely out of touching distance was another lady with uncontrollable ulcers. I watched them shift this lady into the private room I had and then completely disinfect everything including removing the curtain with everything going into a specially marked bag. What hope did that lady with the hip replacement have of not getting an infection? I'd say virtually none.
    ex PS
    22nd Sep 2016
    4:50pm
    I have used both Public and Private hospitals and can't say that once I was admitted I could see a discernible difference in the quality of care. I guess if you are really looking for problems and determined to find them, you will find them.
    Most people don't realize that some of the same people who operate in private hospitals also spend time in the public system.
    OlderandWiser
    24th Sep 2016
    7:28am
    I dropped my private health after three surgical procedures - two in private where the care was appalling in every way, one procedure was botched and had to be redone, and the excess ran to over $10,000 in total.
    Third surgery (to correct botched operation) in public hospital. 3 weeks wait as opposed to 12 weeks in private system, and the care was first class. Would NEVER go private again.
    Jennie
    22nd Sep 2016
    12:15pm
    I am very uncomfortable with for-profit health insurances. I am fortunate in still being able to afford health insurance and choose a not-for-profit one. Ditto for-profit Aged Care facilities such as Estia who are listed on the stock market...
    My friend who is a member of BUPA wanted to go back to the UK to live until she learned she could not afford to continue with BUPA as it is prohibitively more expensive in the UK. That's one for-profit company I will advise anyone thinking of joining a private health company never to use.
    KSS
    22nd Sep 2016
    12:23pm
    Jennie that makes no sense. Your friend didn't repatriate for the sole reason BUPA change too much in the UK? There is more than one private health insurer in the UK.
    Jennie
    22nd Sep 2016
    12:39pm
    The friend has researched this well I understand. I am aware that there are other health funds in the UK. I use to belong to one many years ago before coming to Australia - it has now gone - taken over? I don't know. When my health fund was taken over by BUPA here I got out to a not-for-profit one. However I will ask the friend why she believes (?knows) she is unable to change. I'm not sure if waiting periods exist if you change companies or if exclusions occur. With the plan I had in the UK I had an exclusion for life for all psychological problems due to admitting I had visited my GP in the previuos 5 years a couple of times for post natal depression (which didn't last long I'm pleased to say!) I hope times have changed re exclusions in the UK, but again, I don't know.
    Rae
    22nd Sep 2016
    1:12pm
    The National Health System in the UK is in a huge mess due to over population by immigrants.

    It is all very well to bring in millions to keep wages down for business but you then end up with a crisis in education, health and welfare.

    And business groups still aren't happy and have no solutions for the mess they have created.
    Tom Tank
    22nd Sep 2016
    10:05pm
    Rae you need to be careful about statements on the NHS in the UK as the NHS in Scotland is controlled and funded by the Scottish Parliament and so is largely separate from the NHS south of the border.
    While there are problems with the NHS in Scotland my recent experience over there was all positive.
    KSS
    22nd Sep 2016
    12:21pm
    Whilst it is true that premiums keep increasing (mine went up 17%) and coverage is being reduced, people are their own worst enemies too. How often you people simply pay the renewal (for any insurance) without shopping around and comparing policies? We all know there is no discount for loyalty so why are we staying with the same company for years? If you already have private health insurance you do not generally have to serve waiting periods again if you change. Mostly it is lethargy and you will pay for it.
    Happy cyclist
    22nd Sep 2016
    2:21pm
    You make an excellent point KSS. I am guilty as charged. I used to think I was a loyal person, I tended to stay for years with my various home/car/health insurers until I did start shopping around and realised that I was being a real mug. Now I swap insurers regularly and feel I am much better off for the effort.
    MICK
    22nd Sep 2016
    12:53pm
    Actually health insurance has been unaffordable for a long time and annual increases are nothing more than huge above CPI increases. I'd like to look at the pay packets of health industry CEOs and their Boards over the last 10 years. I dare say that would tell the story.
    Unfortunately we do not have private health insurance and run the risk that we will not be covered should something bad happen. That is the risk but such is life.
    Rae
    22nd Sep 2016
    1:15pm
    I so wish I'd put all that money into an account MICK instead of paying it out to insurance. It is an endless pit with no guarantee of paying out if you need it anyway.
    MICK
    22nd Sep 2016
    3:49pm
    That is why we opted out. Of course the flip side is if you had contracted a bad illness you would have been covered (sort of...the gap!). We thank the Lord that we have not been struck down and being in our 60s who cares if we have to go. Now there's an invitation to our trolls!
    ex PS
    22nd Sep 2016
    4:58pm
    What people don't realize is that if they have a life threatening event, they will jump the que and be admitted to a Public Hospital almost immediate, Of course the private insurance providers do not want people to know this as it is bad for business. What is also not considered by many is the fact that if you are taken into the public system everything is provided, in the private system you could be charged thousands for specialized equipment or services if the unexpected happens.
    Overseas health care is looking more and more attractive every day. I have quite a few relatives and friends who have taken advantage of this.
    Rae
    22nd Sep 2016
    7:05pm
    Me too PS. Thailand seems to be especially favoured and only 30% of the cost.

    Hopefully this globalisation will bring prices down here eventually.
    particolor
    22nd Sep 2016
    7:41pm
    :-) :-) :-)
    floss
    22nd Sep 2016
    1:11pm
    Due to the pension cut backs Jan2017.we have cut our private health fund.Just another side effect of the new asset tests 2017.
    floss
    22nd Sep 2016
    1:20pm
    Rae what a great article please send it to your Local Member you have hit the nail on the head.Even better than Micks,sorry.
    Bes
    22nd Sep 2016
    1:32pm
    According to the Prime Minister (by stealth) It seems that Australia can afford to bring in refugees from around the world.
    This on the back of making financial refugees here in Australia... of an older generation who have built their homes, raised their families and paid their taxes and who are never ever mentioned apart from....what more can they give?
    The untouchable and supreme beings (once elected) who are able to live by different rules than the general population.
    Our Rules: Work until 67 (male). Cannot access Superannuation until retirement. Apply to Centrelink.

    Their Rules: Retire after 10 years. Receive $200,000 - $400,000 for life. Immediately access Superannuation. Start another occupation if and when it suits.
    HOW DID WE GET INTO THIS CRAZY SITUATION?
    When the Coalition showed their true colours you got angry and elected the ALP.
    When the ALP/GREENS showed their true colours you got angry and elected the Coalition.
    When a new or other Party suggestes to you that NEITHER Party is looking out for YOUR best interests….you say they can’t be trusted and it would be crazy to vote for a new party!

    BUT the real definition of CRAZY is doing the same thing OVER and OVER again
    And hoping for a different RESULT!
    WAKE UP AUSTRALIA!
    Old Geezer
    22nd Sep 2016
    1:56pm
    Wrong the pollie entering parliament today have to wait until they are 55 to access their parliamentary super. This is the same as for everyone else.
    MICK
    22nd Sep 2016
    9:42pm
    I thought your man Tony had increased the pension age to 70?
    Old Geezer
    23rd Sep 2016
    5:28pm
    You can still access your super at 55.
    KB
    22nd Sep 2016
    1:35pm
    Older people need medical services more so i it is essential to have private health insurance as back up. Whether you use private or Medicare there ate huge gaps anyway. If you need to see a specialist always ask to see one that bulk bills. Health care needs a reforms otherwise there will be many seniors not be able to access health care let alone young people who need medical servicess
    KB
    22nd Sep 2016
    1:39pm
    Kiss if you live in South Australia hospitals are overloaded to the point ambulances ramping. We are facing hospital closures owing to the ridiculous Transforming Health stuff up So much for the public system for pensioners
    KB
    22nd Sep 2016
    1:39pm
    Kiss if you live in South Australia hospitals are overloaded to the point ambulances ramping. We are facing hospital closures owing to the ridiculous Transforming Health stuff up So much for the public system for pensioners
    KB
    22nd Sep 2016
    1:39pm
    Kiss if you live in South Australia hospitals are overloaded to the point ambulances ramping. We are facing hospital closures owing to the ridiculous Transforming Health stuff up So much for the public system for pensioners
    KB
    22nd Sep 2016
    1:39pm
    Kiss if you live in South Australia hospitals are overloaded to the point ambulances ramping. We are facing hospital closures owing to the ridiculous Transforming Health stuff up So much for the public system for pensioners
    MICK
    22nd Sep 2016
    9:43pm
    You been drinking KB? Chuckle..........
    Old Geezer
    22nd Sep 2016
    1:54pm
    I wouldn't be without health insurance and I think it is cheap for what it costs today for medical treatment. However you have to be prepared to negotiate each year before the price rises and get the best deal or you will pay for being lazy. You need to do that now for all yor insurance poilcies.

    I had an insurance renewal the other day so I rang the current provider and asked if that was the best deal they could do as if I signed up as a new customer with them online it was about 20% cheaper. Thye told me that because I rang them I would have to pay the higher premium. So I renewed with another company instead.
    Rae
    22nd Sep 2016
    2:29pm
    Yes I now change providers just about every year for a better rate. It works with electricity retail billers too.

    I think it amazing that you got someone to answer a phone OG.

    The businesses pretty well expect us to do the job for them.

    I had to laugh when Energy Australia sent a big notice about how I could manage the bill etc online. That is all they do. Manage the damn bill. If I'm going to do it myself I don't need them now do I.
    Old Geezer
    22nd Sep 2016
    2:39pm
    I am wary of any company that has senior or pensioner in it's name or policy name. It seems to me like it is a licence to charge more not less.
    in2sunset
    23rd Sep 2016
    6:50am
    Old Geezer - you are absolutely right about any insurance company with 'senior' or 'pensioner' in its name. Firstly, one so-called company - you cannot get quotes on line - well, you go on line, spend so much time filling out the questions, and right at the end it says 'you need to phone'. This is just a sneaky way of trying talk older people into an overpriced policy. I like to do my research, and make an informed decision, not be pushed by a sales person only interested in getting their commission. I have got quotes from some of these companies, and they are so much more expensive. I have written and complained to them on this, and get some BS story, but they are ALWAYS dearer.
    I personally have no qualms about changing any policy yearly - today, loyalty means nothing. You get PUNISHED not rewarded.
    Health Insurance is a rort. I recently needed to see my specialist. First - the referral had run out - my doctor charges $78 - get back less than a quarter. (No bulk billing in my area). Specialist was $385 - got back $124. My medications need to be compounded (cannot get off the shelf) and cost me around $260 a quarter. Need to have a procedure done - but unless I put it on a credit card, cannot afford the more than $2000 I will be out of pocket.
    Plus I am so sick and tired of trying to get a quote that covers MY needs - some quotes I get, will only cover you for joint replacements AND reproduction. Being a senior, the last bloody thing I want to even think about is having a kid! I am not interested in all the gimmicks they cover. Even if I don't tick that I want all these rubbish things, to get what I want (as a senior person) - I get lumped into the highest cost where you cannot get the cover you WANT and NEED.
    What really gets me - is the same old thing that applies to everything else. Jack up the prices - and people leave in droves. LOWER the damn price, and more people will join! Instead, as more people leave, they jack up the price, so more people leave! Doesn't take a genius to work that out.
    Old Geezer
    23rd Sep 2016
    5:41pm
    If you need a referral that doesn't expire in 12 months get your GP to make it an indefinite referral. All mine are indefinite now so I don't have to worry about this problem unless I have to change specialists. I get bulked billed for nearly everything as I am classified as having a chronic illness.

    I know what you mean by not getting what you want with medical insurance. I look after your adults and my medical insurance adds them to my policy until they are 25 as long as they live with me. So I have to have a family policy that covers us oldies and the young ones too.

    L know the company your are referring to who gets all your details online and then rings you with the quote. Last time I told them to halve it and the we would talk about it. They continued talking about how good it was so I hung up. They rang straight back and I asked if they had halved it yet and they said no so I said good bye and hung up again.
    Thinker
    22nd Sep 2016
    2:37pm
    Economists advise that where there is a scarce resource (Medical treatment) it can be rationed by price (our private system) or queuing )our public system)
    MICK
    22nd Sep 2016
    9:46pm
    Interesting. I read years ago that the AMA ensured that there were quotas as to the number of places in universities for students studying medicine. I suspect that was true but do not know for sure.
    Eve
    22nd Sep 2016
    3:40pm
    Private health insurance is a complete waste of money. There is no question that the public health system is better - no out of pocket expenses, and essentially the same doctors. It makes me angry how much I have to pay AFTER the small bit of subsidy (no way it comes close to covering the costs, so it is just a small subsidy) provided by health insurance companies. Remember when Mark Latham suggested that everyone over 70 have their health care delivered by the state? Not such a bad idea these days. There is no way I would be bothered with private health insurance if I have to live on a pension.
    Old Geezer
    22nd Sep 2016
    3:58pm
    Good if you like waiting, waiting ,waiting and more waiting.

    And worse still like the idea of trainee doctors learning on you.

    Not for me.

    Private health insurance is a little price to pay for your life.
    ex PS
    22nd Sep 2016
    5:09pm
    OG, where do you think those high priced specialists were trained? They were all trainees at one stage. I would probably pick a keen conscientious trainee over an indulged overpaid specialist in most cases as they always have an experienced doctor looking over their shoulder.
    Everyone knows that if you are in a life threatening situation you are given priority in the public system and that given the same circumstances in the private system you are not guaranteed a choice of doctors. In an emergency you could very well end up in a public hospital emergency ward.
    If I don't want to wait, I would consider going overseas for an operation, if I wasn't covered by insurance. As it looks like I won't be shortly as I can't see how it is good value for money.
    Old Geezer
    22nd Sep 2016
    6:09pm
    I have been in a few emergency situations after been taken to public hospitals by ambulance. Each time they have called in a specialist to either operate or fix me up. On one occasion the registrar made the wrong decision but lucky for me they called in a specialist because I was a private patient. I would have been dead if I had been a public patient and the registrar had proceeded down the wrong path.

    I certainly don't want to be a trainees first patient no matter who is looking over their shoulder. One near miss was enough for me.
    MICK
    22nd Sep 2016
    9:50pm
    Eve: I had a work colleague years ago who was in the highest private insurance. This man chipped a bone in his thumb and had to be operated on to remove the splinter of bone. To his horror he was hit with the gap and had to put in thousands of dollars. Needless to say he was ropable and made a case around the workplace about having been better off had he been a public patient where he would not have had to put in a single dollar. Needless to say he dropped out of private insurance after that. This is what possessed my wife and I to never take up private insurance. Not sure if that is a great idea but it certainly is a gamble...........and yes we did invest the money and now have something to show for it.
    Old Man
    22nd Sep 2016
    4:03pm
    I have been in a health fund since starting work some 55 years ago and we have reached the stage where we feel we need to continue as we are getting to the stage where things may need replacing. The premiums are rising at a faster rate than inflation and the excuse is that medical costs are becoming too expensive. I get annoyed when I see health funds spending our money sponsoring sporting teams which I consider is outside their core business. I also get annoyed when I see that offers to attract new members include such fringe benefits as acupuncture, holistic meditation, gym membership and joggers. I believe that the CEO's of the health funds should be spending our money negotiating with medical providers to reduce the costs. At present it appears to me that CEO's are busting their arse trying to justify an increase without doing anything to fight the increase. I also believe that governments should be asking questions of prosthetic suppliers who charge Australians up to 6 times what is charged in America or Europe.
    ex PS
    22nd Sep 2016
    5:12pm
    I have felt for a long time that some of the health products brought into this country should be reverse engineered in order to establish the real cost, and if they are ripping people off they should not be allowed to land their product in the country.
    Jim
    22nd Sep 2016
    4:08pm
    Why are we blaming the government, we have had both major parties in power over recent years, the government rebates that were introduced only replaced the tax concession that we used to get. The real villains in health care are the specialist who are a burden on all of us, the gap these leeches charge is way over the top, these specialist were educated and trained in the public system paid for by all tax payers, Iv'e seen stats that some of these people are earning as much $5000 per hour, I was in a public hospital about 5 years ago, I seen a specialist for about 10 minutes on the first day, then over the following 4 days I was seen by 2 young trainees for less than 5 minutes, his bill was $4000, my health fund covered the bill so I wasn't out of pocket, but how can anyone justify these charges, it's not hard to see why our health system is drowning under this deluge of charges by unscrupulous health professionals. Maybe a royal commission is in order. Have a look around and see who are building huge private hospitals costing tens of millions, you will find that it's these overpaid specialists
    btony
    22nd Sep 2016
    4:36pm
    You're right Dim, as soon as something is covered by insurance, costs for services skyrocket, eg before pet insurance an ear infection in a cat might have cost $60 including antibiotics, now as advertised on TV $1750.
    Go figure.
    particolor
    22nd Sep 2016
    7:48pm
    The $3.20 ^ RAISE ^ will help :-)
    btony
    22nd Sep 2016
    9:00pm
    minus housings .80c cut
    MICK
    22nd Sep 2016
    9:55pm
    The reality Dim is that remuneration for the top end of society is on steroids and out of control. Same deal for lawyers where a day in court (that means a couple of hours!) costs around $5000. Same deal for CEOs who earn a multiple up to 150 times the average wage and then get free shares and partly paid shares as a part of their package.
    If governments are going to regulate the bottom end then they should be regulating the top as well.....but don't tell that to the privileged prima donnas.
    ex PS
    22nd Sep 2016
    4:43pm
    My wife and myself are seriously considering giving up on Private Health Insurance and self insuring. With the accessibility of health services in developing countries so easy and cost effective, it is now a very attractive alternative to paying for insurance in this country. As most of the health professionals in these countries are actually trained in Europe and Australia the quality is assured and you can combine a holiday with your health care.
    I guess that health professionals in this country have just priced themselves out of the market. Perhaps they need to take a pay cut so that we can afford them.
    Rosret
    22nd Sep 2016
    7:17pm
    Good luck with that one. Where are you an ex pat from. Hong Kong?
    MICK
    22nd Sep 2016
    9:58pm
    Interesting idea but some of the reports from the third world are a concern. Also, if a procedure is botched you have no compensation and have to pay to be fixed up, if that is possible, when you get home. Like all things in life that is a gamble which may pay off or be the worst thing you ever did.
    Good luck PS.
    ex PS
    23rd Sep 2016
    3:01pm
    Agreed, MICK, but we have surgery botched in this country too, let the buyer beware, if you are going in for surgery, no matter what country you need to do your research.
    It does not matter what you are buying, cost is no real indication of quality.
    OlderandWiser
    24th Sep 2016
    7:31am
    Mine was botched badly in a private hospital, at horrendous excess cost, by a ''top specialist''. Care was dreadful. Had the mess fixed in public hospital at no cost and the care was superb.

    I keep hearing similar stories from everyone I know who has had private hospital treatment.
    ex PS
    24th Sep 2016
    3:48pm
    Let's face it Rainey, Private Hospitals are there for one thing and one thing only, to make money. They pay people to find out how to cut corners and part of the evaluation is what are the odds of a procedure going wrong and how much will it cost to fix it in court. If it is cheaper to take a chance rather than spend more money they will take that road, it is called risk management.
    PIXAPD
    22nd Sep 2016
    6:14pm
    MEDICARE<<
    Rae
    22nd Sep 2016
    7:11pm
    SHAME !!
    MICK
    22nd Sep 2016
    9:59pm
    Correct PIXAPD. That's what it was designed for it it mostly works for most ailments.
    PIXAPD
    23rd Sep 2016
    1:13pm
    Medicare has served me well, in heart attack, full hip replacement, cancer and other fun times. All with top surgeons. Also dental work at hospital
    Cruiser
    22nd Sep 2016
    9:55pm
    No good complaining, get smart, review your fund every year, list your must haves, then work through the various insurance checkers like Compare the market. com or Iselect. They do all the work and you then make the decision, I have saved thousands pa by doing this. Prior to this I sat with Medibank private and watched my premiums increase way over inflation year after year. I am currently with Gelong Medical, gave the best deal last time I checked.
    babyboomer
    22nd Sep 2016
    11:16pm
    I will have to stop paying for private health insurance. I am 66 yrs old and have had private health insurance since I was 19 yrs old. I am a self-funded retiree on the cusp of poverty, but unable to get any pension or a Health card. It is obvious to me that the first things that have to go will be private health insurance, then running a car. What is happening to my quality of life? The quality of life I felt was secured by all my hard work and planning. People in my situation are in shock that so much is being taken from us, the people who need it most and need it now that we are old. What is our Government thinking? Do they think we will not notice that we are being sacrificed to benefit the wealthier?
    Alexii
    23rd Sep 2016
    11:18am
    I gave up private health insurance in the '90s: My aged mother had fallen, broken her hip, was taken to hospital by ambulance and on admission told them she had private cover. Of course being an emergency she was given the doctors and surgeons who happened to be available (not her choice of them as she wouldn't have known who to choose anyway) and then i started to write out the cheques for all the gap fees for the surgeon - including all the days he came to her bedside, said, "How are you feeling today, Mrs ...," to which she'd reply that she felt good. His peers also increased during her weeks there and so did the gap. No more private cover for me.
    Just recently I had a cancer removed at a public hospital - wonderful treatment from nurses, anaesthetists and the urologists. The only fees I paid was the difference between medicare and the urologist's fees at her clinic - not for the excellent work she and other urologists did at the hospital. I could not have asked for better! I did not have private health insurance and am glad that i have not wasted the money on it since the 90s when I stopped (after many years of paying for it and not using it).
    So moral of the story - don;t waste your money on private health insurance.
    Alexii
    24th Sep 2016
    6:54pm
    Correction: it should be "His fees also increased..."

    And additionally, I did not have to wait, wait, wait like Old Geezer was saying in a post above) - the urologist specialist (an associate professor) said it was urgent to treat me and the public hospital had me in there very quickly for exploratory operation of which I needed two ops and then the third and final one to remove the cancer - successfully I might add. I am indeed most fortunate that I do not need chemo or radio therapy and just need regular cystoscopies to check in case of any recurrence.
    ex PS
    25th Sep 2016
    7:01pm
    It is always good to hear testimony from people who have been through the system and found it up to par. The problem is and always will be that you always hear the bad but no one ever bothers to report the good.
    Apparently good news is no news.
    Supernan
    23rd Sep 2016
    12:39pm
    dstark, if that is true, why did the Gov not tell us that:
    1. In the middle of our working life we would be expected to pay Super for our Staff ? So had to stop paying our own Super. It was supposed to be given to people instead of a basic wage increase. Our Staff were already paid way above the basicwage already !
    2. A global financial ciris was coming, which would make our Business hard to sell ?
    3. That interest rates we paid when paying off our house - 16% to over 20% would drop to ridiculous rates when we retired & expected to earn interest ?
    4. That the rules for pensions would change all the time.
    Explain to me how we could plan for that ?????
    Old Geezer
    25th Sep 2016
    7:40pm
    Plan for the worst and hope for the best. Markets move in cycles and the world is currently awash with cash.
    dabs
    23rd Sep 2016
    3:37pm
    Earlier this year I decided to ditch the private health insurance I had had for well over a decade as I live on my super and it was just becoming too much. Instead I set aside $1500 each for my husband and I to cover contingencies, deciding this was a better way to go than paying for buildings, advertising campaigns and executive salaries. For months they hounded me to rejoin. Aside from affordability, the reason I dropped out is that after many years of paying in, the fund refused to cover dentures for my husband as it was not covered by medical extras, and when I did have a surgical procedure in 2010 the fund paid only 25% of Hospital cover, with the rest coming under medicare.
    particolor
    25th Sep 2016
    6:57pm
    After reading all that I think our Government needs REFORM :-( :-(
    maxchugg
    26th Sep 2016
    12:11pm
    Private health insurance is a government sponsored racket. While you are young and at low risk, the insurers are more than happy to take your money. But when you reach pensionable age and more likely to make claims against your policy, the funds will gladly cancel your policy.

    Worse, having made the decision to cancel your policy there is no way to change your mind and reinsure. Despite the fact that you might have contributed to a fund for several decades, you are treated as though you have never been insures, and face premiums that are totally unaffordable.

    The government is equally culpable. Those who kepet the funds alive for many decades by paying their premiums throughout their working lives brought about massive savings to the revenue yet the politics of envy have ensured that the once reasonable rebates allowed are rapidly being whittled away, further ensuring that health insurance is unaffordable for anyone who is retired.

    A pensioner friend, insured until retirement, has been waiting for over three years for eye surgery to correct cataracts which are threatening his ability to retain a driver's licence, leaving many people wondering if he would not be better off in a third world country.
    maxchugg
    26th Sep 2016
    12:14pm
    Rae, I'm with you all the way.

    Some time ago there was a minor fuss when the uninsured were waiting months, if not years, to get a hospital bed. But a member of parliament was hospitalized with a black eye.
    Kathleen
    25th Apr 2017
    11:33am
    The government has reduced their contribution.from 40% to less than 35% and each year they reduce it by a further 1% or more. I have found one that has no excess for day surgery which means a lot to us as it a big saving. We have chosen the biggest excess which keeps our premium to $245 for top hospital and top extras. We will not be dropping private health cover. We will make sure we get all our bills down as low as possible to cover this necessity.
    The public hospital should be means tested as I know very wealthy people using it without making a contribution. If I use the public system which I did for a day in ER I offered my private health card to help with costs. They used about $400 from that which I was happy to do.
    Whilst waiting lists are so bad in the public system and not able to choose your surgeon and being placed in mixed wards with little after care we will persist with our private cover. My cousin has had two recent operations in the public system and those were her experiences. I know the public system can be very good but I like to have some control.
    I have an in law who is happy to wait in pain for her operations despite being able to pay $25000 a year for rates on a home in a very upmarket suburb. She could pay easily but likes to get it free.
    To sum up, the government should reimburse pensioners the 40% we used to get and means test the public hospitals and have wealthy people contribute.


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