Private health insurance industry in a ‘death spiral’

NIB boss wants Medicare abolished.

Health insurance in ‘death spiral’

At the same time as the head of one of Australia’s biggest health insurers has called on the Government to abolish Medicare and make private health insurance compulsory, a Grattan Institute report claims the private health insurance industry is in a death spiral.

Mark Fitzgibbon, managing director of NIB, says that forcing people to take out private health cover would solve an impending funding crisis in the public and private sectors.

Under his proposal, the Government would cover costs for those unable to afford private cover, thus continuing Australia’s universal healthcare, but funds would get an influx of healthy members to effectively balance the books.

“We love this word Medicare, it’s like Bambi,” Mr Fitzgibbon told Fairfax Media. “I don’t want to be seen as the one who wants to shoot Bambi, but I think there’s a better way of delivering universal healthcare which is more efficient and fairer.”

He argues that by effectively privatising Medicare and adding competition, the system would be more efficient. He said several European countries had similar systems and envisaged that private insurance would become mandatory within 20 years.

However, Stephen Duckett, health program director at think tank the Grattan Institute, believes privatisation is on the nose with the general public in the wake of similar moves in the gas and electricity sectors.

“It’s inevitable that government will have to make tough decisions about whether more subsidies are the answer to the impending crisis,” he said.

“Governments have failed to clearly define the role of private health insurance since Medicare was introduced in the 1980s. The upshot is we have a muddled healthcare system that is riddled with inconsistencies and perverse incentives.”

Premiums are rising faster than wages or inflation and the young and healthy are dropping their cover. As a result, those who are left are more likely to require medical services and are driving insurance costs up further.

Meanwhile, taxpayers subside the industry to the tune of about $9 billion every year – $6 billion for the private health insurance rebate, and $3 billion on private medical services for inpatients, Mr Duckett said.

Goldman Sachs analyst Ashley Dalziell says in a research note that revenue trends for health insurers would “remain tough”.

He reports that member numbers fell 0.5 per cent in the year to March and the proportion of the population with private health cover slid 10 basis points to 44.5 per cent. That was driven in particular by people in their 20s, who now have the lowest insurance participation rate since 2005.

“We expect that on stable levels of claims inflation, it will be very hard for the health insurers to maintain their gross margins off the 2019 rate increase,” he said.

“Recent reform measures are having little positive impact, policyholder/mix pressures remain unchanged, and we expect the near term rate increases will be kept [below] three per cent.”

YourLifeChoices members told us in our most recent completed Retirement Matters survey that 69 per cent of the almost 5000 respondents had private health cover and 81.5 per cent hoped to maintain their cover for life. Of those without cover, 73.3 per cent said they were once insured.

Do the struggles in the healthcare sector concern you? Are you confident you will be able to hang on to your cover?

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    COMMENTS

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    Chris B T
    2nd Aug 2019
    9:40am
    Profits, Profits is All This Mob are concern with/ I Don't Care instead of Medicare.
    To sadly Quote Shame, Shame.
    {-(0)
    MICK
    2nd Aug 2019
    11:56am
    Of course Chris. That's what business wants. The real concern is that we have a business owned and directed government which is conflicted. We saw the other day that it refused to investigate a story of significant corruption between government ministers and Crown Casino.
    The big worry with the current government is that the call to force people with even two razoos to rub together to take out health insurance is all about money for rich health insurers. Its the next shot over the bow to kill of Medicare and turn Australia into a system similar to America.
    We have a universal health system. The crooks want us to not only pay (high) taxes but then savage us in all areas of life. All well and good for multi millionaires but a further attack on many others. And you thought Labor's franking credits changes were life shattering!
    Anonymous
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:10pm
    Whoa back there MICK, telling half the story to suit your ideology is akin to lying. Yes, the government refused to investigate an accusation of significant corruption and it is also true that the opposition crossed the floor to vote with the government. The only ones who voted for the inquiry were the cross benches, five in all.

    The government hasn't called for forcing people to take out health insurance as your post intimates. It's the brother of Labor frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon who is calling for the death of Medicare and government to pay for those who can't afford it.
    MICK
    2nd Aug 2019
    1:33pm
    Always plugging for your side OM.
    The government left the chamber so it did not have to vote against the bill. Labor did the same. It is what it is! Both sides sold us out for electoral funding.
    Labor would NEVER, I repeat never, call for Medicare to only be accessible to pensioners. That would see it cease to exist as a party.
    NIB CEO Fitzgibbon's salary increases depend on Australians staying in private health care. His interest is his bank account. The government's interest is the systematic plundering of working Australians. That should be obvious to all but rusted ons and trolls as the track record and intent never changes......'We can't afford Newstart increases' but we can afford $189 billion in tax cuts for the already rich???? Don't get me started mate.
    Chris B T
    2nd Aug 2019
    2:31pm
    Mick
    Franking Credits were another issue.
    Like I said, One Only Has To Rearrange There Financial Affairs.
    I no longer Have To Worry About Franking Credits Any more.
    I don't Trust either Government, Opposition or Cross Bench.
    I haven't Had Private Insurance For Over 40 years.
    The longest that I had to wait for Operations/Surgery is a month.
    I've waited longer to have a consultation.
    Medicare as is Has Severed Me Well.
    Just the Hospitals/Staff other than orderlies has Been An Issue.Glad to get out alive without any Extra Problems."LUCKY"
    The Public and Private Hospitals Have Major Problems, Best To Stay Away If At All Possible.
    I've Been in 2 Different States with 3 different Cancers, once Private and Twice Public.
    Slightly Better Than Nursing Homes in my observation.
    MICK
    2nd Aug 2019
    4:28pm
    I can't fault you on that Chris. Pretty well agree on most things.
    We've been very lucky to mostly avoid the hospital system but are getting to the stage where something is bound to go wrong despite a healthy lifestyle.
    So who you going to vote for? Greens? I have to admit that despite the contempt I've had for the Greens De Natalie has pretty well hit the nail on the head for the past 12 months. Called government AND Labor out earlier in the week with Crown Casino. Called politics in Canberra CORRUPT. As much as I hate the thought of voting for the Hanson Young nightmare perhaps its time to go down this road to shake out the bastards who never do the right thing and sell us all out all of the time. The latest 'leak' about forcing some of us into private health insurance has pretty well done it for me....but I did warn readers about voting LNP. Sadly many on this site went for their franking credits and now have to pay the piper. They'll wish they hadn't in a few years. We live in interesting times.
    Anonymous
    4th Aug 2019
    6:35pm
    got sad news for your mick we conservatives are strong and united and are on track to ensure another ScoMo government - granted a long tie to next election but things are looking promising. We the conservatives (coalition) have won 8 of the 9 elections since 1993 and I include the 2010 as a win as won more seats and votes but only lost out to Windsor and Oakshotte who were unceremoniously thrown 3 years later- good riddance. The fact is that generally there are more conservative voters than labor or progressive ( for me read regressive) voters. Long may it remain so.
    Rae
    2nd Aug 2019
    9:56am
    Of course he does. He's in the insurance business . Insurance salesmen always want a crisis to frighten people into giving them money.

    Far better to admit the Private Health Insurance Industry has failed and just put an end to it altogether.

    Put the money wasted on privatised health into public health, increase the medicare levy by 2%, end all private insurance rebates and if rich people want to pay for private health they can. the rest can use a more efficient and cheaper public system.
    Sundays
    2nd Aug 2019
    10:31am
    I like this idea Rae
    annie
    2nd Aug 2019
    10:53am
    I too would prefer to pay more tax or more medicare levy and do away with the private health system. The present system is inequitable and even if you do pay health insurance you need additional savings in order to be able to cover the gap. The british fund a proper health system available to all regardless of income so why cant we?
    Kaz
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:04pm
    Seconded. Pay more into the Medicare contribution and get rid of the expensive corporate private insurance.
    greenie
    2nd Aug 2019
    2:44pm
    Good on you Rae. Was just about to say the same thing.
    Let the private funds collapse then we will be all on the same level.
    May have to pay a bit more tax to support Medicare but no where near as much as the private premiums.
    Best outcome for all. Why should the government- that is we - pay for the excessive salaries and profits of the private funds?
    Eddy
    2nd Aug 2019
    3:54pm
    Totally agree with Rae and the others. Increase the Medicare Levy and scrap private health insurance. For me personally I pay half the Medicare levy of 1% of taxable income (I have a DVA Gold Card so am exempt but have to pay half levy for my wife) and then 3.5% of total income for private health insurance (single rate for my wife only). If the Medicare levy went up to around 5% I would be better off overall, and have no 'out of pocket' expenses if my wife did have to go to hospital, touch wood.
    Triss
    2nd Aug 2019
    4:08pm
    Also it would be interesting to know what percentage of the insurance and medical fees and gaps we pay go to the shareholders of the private hospital.
    Ny19
    2nd Aug 2019
    4:59pm
    Agree with all of you.
    80 plus
    2nd Aug 2019
    7:26pm
    Lets not blame the insurance industry for the all woes, my wife had to have a bowel cancer treatment/operation in a private Cairns hospital, for 3 days a notice above her bed read "no food, no liquids ice blocks only", on being discharged we noticed the daily charges were identical except for the consumables, bandages, safety pins plaster etc, when we queried the daily rate as 4 out of the 9 days she was not fed we were told we always charge the same daily bed rate no matter the treatment or after care, which included a daily bottle of wine!, the shared room rate was more expensive a room at the local Hilton hotel, I do not begrudge the surgical staff the high fees but I think the hospital is onto a good thing,being able charge for some thing they they do not provide or if not a wine lover the patient wants, as we were working overseas and were on holiday in Cairns when she fell ill we paid for the procedures and hospital fees. but a look at the hospital charges is the main reason for the health fund crisis.
    Thomas
    2nd Aug 2019
    9:14pm
    I agree, Rae. These CEOs just want more money. They do not care about other people at all.
    Viggen840
    4th Aug 2019
    8:45pm
    'put an end to it altogether and then 'if the rich want it they get it'... if it doesn't exist, how do they get it, and why would they want to?
    Paddington
    5th Aug 2019
    10:45am
    People have the right to choose for a start. Getting rid of private health funds would not solve this. The money would not be put into the hospitals it would be railroaded like every other thing the government is supposed to cover. Some funds are better than others as well, so choose wisely. By pulling out of those funds makes it harder for those that stay in who include many poorer people on pensions and low incomes. Also, wealthy people using the public hospitals gum up the waiting lists. If you are able to contribute to the public system you should do so. Means test the public system and average people pay something and the super wealthy pay the total cost. It is actually cheaper for one of our sons to have private cover than pay the levy so should be one or the other except for people with no means of support or very low or homeless, etc. If pensioners can pay for private cover then others need to contribute.
    Rae
    2nd Aug 2019
    10:00am
    I also can't see myself continuing to pay health insurance if the premium rises outstrip the CPI year after year. I've paid in for decades without using the services and it's becoming unaffordable quite quickly. Better perhaps to save and deal with the doctors or use the public system in an emergency.

    Paying for excessive doctor profits as well as insurance company profits is fast making the system unaffordable for all but working high income earners.
    greenie
    2nd Aug 2019
    2:45pm
    Hooray for Rae!
    Rae
    2nd Aug 2019
    10:04am
    Even increases of 3% are not sustainable in a less than 1% inflation world. Increases have been as high as 8% a year. It's no wander people are cancelling insurances. It's just not affordable anymore.
    I expect Health Funds will start failing and going into receivership leaving members in the lurch. That consequence is easily seen coming.
    Farside
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:46pm
    nobody is asking the question as to what price would younger age groups choose to opt-in? Lowering the premiums might entice enough new members to ensure continuing viability rather than resorting to increased premiums for fewer members.
    Rae
    2nd Aug 2019
    2:55pm
    Why you'd want to waste money on insurance executives and shareholders when the finds could be directed to health care never made any sense to me.

    An insurance company is not going to fix any health issue ever.
    Triss
    2nd Aug 2019
    4:10pm
    You’ve got that right, Rae.
    sooty
    2nd Aug 2019
    10:14am
    And this man is the brother of Joel fitzgibbon, ALP shadow minister. I wonder where he stands on this issue
    TREBOR
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:15pm
    Wherever the money tree casts its shade for him ....
    GeorgeM
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:16pm
    Brothers must be working on the same side.....i.e. to help Private Companies increase profits at the expense of customers, increase bonuses for the CEOs, and ensure new employment for these politicians when they retire to add on to their politician perks. Why would anyone think Labor (without "u" / you in it) be any different? After all, Labor was the party (think Keating) who destroyed local industries, and Americanised the Australian business environment.
    Farside
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:48pm
    George is right, "Brothers must be working on the same side" ... just ask Peter and Tim Costello
    Paddington
    2nd Aug 2019
    10:31am
    Well, case in point, a woman finding herself with hyperthyroidism when never being sick and now facing removal of her thyroid, with no private cover. She contacts the surgeon who also goes to public hospitals and the response from the receptionist is we will contact you if he has an appointment for you. I recall that same response a few years back and never heard back. So, lesson, keep your private cover, economise elsewhere first!
    Sundays
    2nd Aug 2019
    10:46am
    On the other hand, a friend with breast cancer had a mastectomy just after diagnosis the best treatment including chemo and radiotherapy all free in the Public System. Great for life threatening emergencies, so people shouldn’t panic in that regard. I had hyperthyroidism 12 years ago, was told it would need removal, but it righted itself. Glad I took time to reflect. Good ever since. We have private cover but I’m still in two minds. The premiums are one thing, it it’s the gap fees which are a major concern
    older&wiser
    2nd Aug 2019
    11:10am
    Sundays - agree. the Gap fees are what is killing the Private Health Insurance. And that is down to greedy doctors and surgeons.
    I reluctantly have Private Health Insurance. Only on a pension, have cut down cover, increased excess, changed funds. But eventually will come crunch time and I will have to leave due to increasing cost, and decreasing cover.
    Rae
    2nd Aug 2019
    11:47am
    That is just greed and blackmail. If there was no private insurance system and the surgeon was employed by the State it would be entirely different. You'd just join the queue and we'd have a lot more surgeons and a far less expensive operation.

    Keeping the cover while you can is sensible but what happens when the Fund collapses as mote and more people simply can't afford to economise anywhere else.

    How much is too much?
    Paddington
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:03pm
    Sundays, you were lucky. She is not responding to treatment and hers is a bad case.
    Her symptoms are extreme. She has a nodule that is lit up.
    We only have dental extras at the moment so we need to save for glasses down the track.
    Saying people can save up though assumes they can afford to do so. Many are living fortnight to fortnight. The payment for private cover is automatic so saves worry mainly and you go with coffees out and restaurants etc. however, some are doing that already anyway and still are poor.
    My sister had free treatment for a stroke but still did not drop her private cover. It is about peace of mind I guess. You have to choose a good one and choose your doctors and hospitals as well.
    We would probably drop a meal a day rather than drop our cover and many others agree including my sister as we know too many without any cover and the consequences.
    Paddington
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:05pm
    Correction: go without having coffees out and restaurant eating etc.
    Gra
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:06pm
    Case in point?? A few years back I was diagnosed with a kidney problem. GP sent me for a scan in the morning, called me back later in the day when he got the results. While I was in his consulting room he rang a Urologist and explained the situation. The Urologist said he was ringing the public hospital straight away and for me to attend there ASAP. I went home packed a bag and presented at the hospital. After the usual admission procedure I was admitted and the Urologist operated later that evening to to insert a stent. Two weeks later I had the kidney removed. Having been forced to take retirement I couldn't afford private health cover. The proof is there, if you have a serious health issue, hospital treatment is still provided regardless of the fact you don't have private health insurance PLUS it doesn't cost you for all the extras like anaesthetists.
    TREBOR
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:17pm
    Thank you, Paddington, for your reminder that the medical 'profession' in many instances need to be controlled more and brought under proper scrutiny for their selfish practices. Just screaming out for regulation with that kind of abuse of sick people.

    Nationalise the lot - they can always go on strike and see how long they last without the income.
    TREBOR
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:18pm
    Bloody doctor's union - standover Union thugs at work...
    KB
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:23pm
    I would not be without my health cover. Have had several operations. Only concern has been the gap which I save for I prefer to see the same specialists due to a variety of different health concerns. Going through the public hospital does not guarantee that you will see the one you have to treat you. In Sa there is a long waiting lists for people who need hip operations.Private health cover is good for elective surgery. People need to be reminded that if you have a heart attack or stroke you will be treated accordingly at a public hospital that has the facilities to treat you. They government must make health insurance affordable.
    KB
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:23pm
    I would not be without my health cover. Have had several operations. Only concern has been the gap which I save for I prefer to see the same specialists due to a variety of different health concerns. Going through the public hospital does not guarantee that you will see the one you have to treat you. In Sa there is a long waiting lists for people who need hip operations.Private health cover is good for elective surgery. People need to be reminded that if you have a heart attack or stroke you will be treated accordingly at a public hospital that has the facilities to treat you. They government must make health insurance affordable.
    Rae
    2nd Aug 2019
    2:59pm
    That is a good point TREBOR the AMA is a union and the same rules should apply. If they refuse to treat public patients is that a strike?
    TREBOR
    2nd Aug 2019
    10:30pm
    I'm fuming because a lady I know was just last minute told her brain tumour op was postponed to suit the quack and his bank balance, costing her travel and accommodation costs for nothing done.

    Nationalise the bloody lot of them and put them on salary.

    I notice on another forum not much of the boot going in over the current hospitals ancillary staff strike in NSW over safety concerns.... nurses, ambos, cops, and firies are all saints in the public eye - yet each such group is highly Unionised, and never criticised for strike action.

    Bizarre lack of reasoning by the herd out there at times... it seems that you can only be a Union 'thug' if you are a blue collar worker, so those big hairy beasts are so frightening for poor little managers who hold all the whips to deal with... **rolls eyes** while the saints are never to be criticised.
    TREBOR
    2nd Aug 2019
    10:32pm
    The difference between a Union thug and a heroic Unionist is a class issue... in this allegedly class-less egalitarian society...

    You can take the peasant out of the prejudice field, but you can never take the prejudice field out of the peasant...
    older&wiser
    3rd Aug 2019
    11:35am
    Gra - note you say 'a few years ago'. How long ago is 'a few years'?

    Believe me, things are VERY different now. Might have had quick surgery then, but now - depending on which state - wait time is normal.
    Sampancho
    2nd Aug 2019
    10:33am
    The most obvious way of preventing the ever increasing cost of private health insurance is to put an end to the ridiculous charges the medical profession hit us with.
    They have got away with murder for years because no one has the guts to take them on.
    TREBOR
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:20pm
    Screaming out for regulation ....
    Good choices
    2nd Aug 2019
    10:36am
    At the of 54 I decided to join the Private Health Ins. As I had been on and off the Ins. They had come up with an absence of around 1000 or so days. So I had to pay an extra 42% due to the absent days or days without cover. I did this for Seven years and because my circumstances changed I could not afford to continue at the time, so two years ago I opted out, anyway after two years I have become able to join again and you would not believe it, I thought that I could do the other three years which would amounted to the penance of 10 years, but because of the absence, they said that I would have start again and do another 10 years at an extra 48% loading, but that is something that is so wrong, they blamed the Govt. for that so who is to blame. There is no way I can pay that much extra, I was willing to join back up, no wonder people are dropping it.
    Hardworker
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:23pm
    Good choices - you can thank John Howard for that debacle. It just shows you which world he lives in. The land of the rich. I was in a similar situation and had to pay a lot extra because I couldn't afford to be insured when it first came in but got worried as I got older that I might need something expensive and timely due to hereditary factors. As regards this article there probably is a better model but we are always the ones who suffer and have to end up paying more when the political parties chop and change all the time and destroy what the previous party introduced. The LNP are into supporting big business hence we have a multitude of private health insurers.
    Sundays
    2nd Aug 2019
    10:37am
    We dropped Extras a couple of years ago as it wasn’t cost effective. Have saved the premium in a seperate account just in case we get sick and there is a gap to pay. I regularly question why we pay for private hospital cover just in case when despite the highest cover (and premiums) you’re not fully covered anyway. I’d drop out too if I was in my twenties.
    Rae
    2nd Aug 2019
    11:50am
    I wish I'd started an account when I joined in my 20s. I've rarely used the insurance as I've been lucky and would have a lot of money sitting there to negotiate with doctors for elective surgery and essential is covered by Medicare anyway.
    Hardworker
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:33pm
    You know something Rae, once you are collecting the aged pension you don't even have the choice any more of saving up yourself and paying the doctor directly. Just imagine if we had a separate account for health cover and the money added up over the years and was substantial in order to cover any health event we may have. Centrelink would say we had too much and would cut off our pension.
    Sundays
    2nd Aug 2019
    10:37am
    We dropped Extras a couple of years ago as it wasn’t cost effective. Have saved the premium in a seperate account just in case we get sick and there is a gap to pay. I regularly question why we pay for private hospital cover just in case when despite the highest cover (and premiums) you’re not fully covered anyway. I’d drop out too if I was in my twenties.
    Ted Wards
    2nd Aug 2019
    10:43am
    The trouble with the health industry is it doesn't focus on health but on illness. We are paying to be kept sick. Prevention is better that cure. How about we focus on health, keeping healthy and get people to take responsibility for being healthy. For instance, active gym memberships or any type of activity memberships should be tax deductible. We are taking responsibility for our health and not neglecting it. Its a debate that is focused on the wrong issues.
    Nose Hair Bob
    2nd Aug 2019
    11:43am
    Ted Wards, exactly, add also your food choices.
    TREBOR
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:29pm
    After eight years of relentless, brutal, demoralising (slows me down to hell and I'm a fast mover) chest pain, I've finally diagnosed it for myself and am working on a cure... been to cardios time and again for repeat, repeat tests that show nothing, been to the lunger who wants to check me for sleep apnea since that's what they do and it has dollar signs attached and tells me I have slight asthma and keep coming back, the gastro who said 'slight reflux shouldn't be causing it' (who only charged Medicare rates)..... and I've Dr Googled it time and again until I found all the symptoms and how to relieve them. Oesophagal diverticulum ....a little pocket that catches air and food and then gives agonies.... cut out spicy food, wash down with cold beer after every meal while stretching to the left and stretching oesophagus as much as possible and Bob's yer uncle... some air comes up and some mucous... almost back to galloping like a gazelle after three days... and minimal discomfort and no pain.

    I'm losing faith in the medical profession daily.
    Sandy
    2nd Aug 2019
    10:47am
    What a clown. Health funds give you hardly anything back and you can't claim for specialist's fees unless you are in hospital. The gap fees are a joke. We have been in a health fund for many years and would have been better off putting that money in a credit union and saving it for health costs.
    Paddington
    5th Aug 2019
    10:22am
    We would never have saved it as there was always something else needed. This way, we have peace of mind and regular smaller payments. We are both covered for $70 per week. If that was for a family it would be no more. People talk about travelling overseas but begrudge paying for healthcare or at least contributing. I still believe the public hospital should be means tested. Wealthy people use it and clog up the waiting list.
    cupoftea
    2nd Aug 2019
    11:06am
    Is this one of the private health company that were not the best to be in
    cupoftea
    2nd Aug 2019
    11:06am
    Is this one of the private health company that were not the best to be in
    older&wiser
    2nd Aug 2019
    11:11am
    When you take out Car Insurance, they don't come back to you and say 'sorry, you are not covered for a new bumper-bar, or radiator, or tyres, or windscreen, etc'. They don't come back and say 'but you will have to pay Xdollars extra out of pocket'. You pay your excess - that's it.
    Health Insurance should be the same. Either you have insurance or you don't . Too many people check out what is covered, join, then a few years down the track find out that no, that procedure was bumped up to only be in Gold level, a few years ago. 'Didn't you read the change of terms & conditions we sent to you?' (yeah, probably hidden in some obscure clause on page 44 of the 56 pages).
    Health Insurance is becoming unafordable. Instead of punishing contributors, why not a reward system? Soon you will need to have Gold Cover to have an ingrown Toe Nail fixed. Oh - I better check my policy -perhaps it already is?
    sunnyOz
    2nd Aug 2019
    4:34pm
    Yes, spot on. Private Health Insurance is blackmail.
    I have only just seen the absolute hell a neighbor has gone through as she had no PHI. She had a fall in November 2018,had to have a plate put in her leg. However, since operation has complained bitterly about continuing and constant pain. By June she could barely move, and had 3 trips by ambulance to hospital, pleading for some relief. On 3rd trip they finally found there was still a fracture under the plate - but had to go on the list for surgery.
    Soon after, her husband could not look after her, and her pain was debilitating. She was then put into respite care - but this still did not get to the cause. She has been listed for surgery as a category 2 patient - up to 90 days. Yet she can barely move now. Cannot walk, bed ridden, on huge amounts of pain killers.
    I see this and I thank God I still have my PHI - even though it is a major cost on a pension.
    sunnyOz
    3rd Aug 2019
    11:47am
    Update on my neighbor - I have just been up to see her and I came away swearing I would NEVER give up my private health Insurance! She now cannot even walk to the toilet and is in so much pain, she constantly talks about ending her own life. She is barely 10% of the active women I saw 8 months ago. The respite place she is in says they do not have the staff to monitor her 24/7, and her family spends as much time with her.
    She was actually scheduled for surgery this Monday (5/8) - but has already had a call saying this is cancelled, and no new date is known. She says she simply cannot last any longer, and her family is frightened she will simply give in and die, or be too weak for the operation. These people HAD Private Health Insurance for years until 4 years ago but gave it up, when they could no longer afford it.
    And this is Australia's treatment of the old, frail and sick! Console myself by knowing I have 2 alternatives - PHI or a big cliff not far from my place.
    Paddington
    3rd Aug 2019
    9:48pm
    sunnyOz, I could not agree more. People on here travel and have money for other things a lot of the time. Private cover is so important. So called elective surgery can be some horrific stuff. I remember one example a couple of years ago a young guy had something dreadful with his knee, it was somehow detached from his upper and lower leg. He was put on the elective list.
    We are on a pension too. It is at the top of our priorities.
    Paddington
    3rd Aug 2019
    9:49pm
    Also, thoughts for your friend and hope she is helped soon.
    Nomad1946
    2nd Aug 2019
    11:19am
    One wonders if these grossly overpaid “executives” will ever get to understand that they are progressively pricing customers out of the system.
    One wonders if the governments ( Federal & State) will ever realise that their combined inept actions when added to the greed of the health “insurance” will eventually overload the social health system.
    I, for one, am damn sick and tired of making two contributions per year .... Private $4,000 plus Medicare (2%) $1,500 ..... SERIOUSLY, after some 50+ years paying for private health insurance it is, for me, time to reconsider .......
    Rae
    2nd Aug 2019
    11:55am
    They usually realise when they need to take the Fund into administration. They still don't lose though only the members ever lose.

    I've paid in for 48 years but I'm also reconsidering as the insurance balloons and the out of pocket also balloon.

    A trip overseas to countries less greedy might be the solution. Friends have had both dental and medical in Thailand for a fraction of Australia's costs.
    Buggsie
    2nd Aug 2019
    11:26am
    About 12 months ago I received a letter from my private health insurer informing me that in the last 12 months they had paid claims totalling $27,000 for various procedures on my behalf. Sounds good! What they didn't say was that I have held that insurance for over 40 years and most years have claimed little to nothing at all. Unfortunately with the lack of medical services available in regional areas I am very hesitant to rely on the public health system. As an example, the surgeon who fixed my double hernias told me that I would have waited about 12 months for his services without private health - as it was I was operated on 3 weeks from the initial appointment.
    purplejan88
    2nd Aug 2019
    11:51am
    i agree Buggsie - will be keeping hosp cover - don't have a choice as i have a cochlear implant and hosp cover is the only way to keep speech processor up graded at about $8000-10000 a time. all my other audiologist costs are covered by medicare . am grateful to have the implant so hosp cover a must but the extras cover is going real soon!! i will bank extras premium in a separate account and pay for what i need in full
    Magic Touch
    2nd Aug 2019
    11:37am
    Before the turnbull goverment change the OAP rules my part payment was stop and I when into moneys problem after had retired for few years and all my retired plan was all screw up....So I had to stop the Health Insurance to save back few thousand to pay bills....as everything price go rocket high make me no other way out....you need to eat ....after all this years I just paying this health insurance and the insurance price keep going up year by year....and I did not claim any of it....
    purplejan88
    2nd Aug 2019
    11:44am
    will be dropping extras cover soon - no point in paying $125 a month and still have to pay a $30+ gap for a podiatrist or physio visit that would only cost me $75 all up. having said that i am pleased with gaps for dental work i have been having done recently - can;t win them all i guess. will keep hosp cover though
    Gra
    2nd Aug 2019
    11:56am
    Private Health Insurance companies only have themselves to blame for their poor situation. Their greed with overinflated premiums, reluctance to pay some claims etc. The best thing that could happen would be for all private health insurance companies to fold and the government to boost Medicare. People probably wouldn't mind paying a modest Medicare premium rather than paying a fortune for private health. It's ridiculous when someone who has private health cover still has to pay a fortune for medical treatment in hospital but someone without pays nothing.
    Oldchick
    2nd Aug 2019
    11:56am
    I have, and always have had, private health insurance. On a pension it’s not easy but I manage to keep paying it. I feel it’s like all insurance, house, contents, car, etc. It’s there if you need it. You hope you won’t but as you age particularly it’s good to know if you need a hip or knee replacement for example, you’re not waiting 12 months or more in the public system. What annoys me is the Government allows fees to rise every year without doing anything about fixing the overall system. It’s not a priority for them because their Healthcare is paid for by the taxpayers. The other thing that annoys me is queue jumpers. Go on A Current Affair, tell your sob story about how long you’ve had to wait for treatment, and whammo, you’re in. Also people above a certain income should be made to have Private Cover. Relieve some of the pressure on the existing members.
    KSS
    2nd Aug 2019
    1:40pm
    And what would that 'certain level of income' be Oldchick? Anything more than a pension?
    Oldchick
    2nd Aug 2019
    6:04pm
    KSS I think that anyone earning $100k or more a year, probably even $80k, should be more than capable of paying for some level of cover, yet I know of quite a few who don’t. If I can do it on a Pension alone, and I never earned over $35k a year during my whole 35 odd years of working, I think it’s reasonable to expect those earning big bucks to provide better for themselves.
    TREBOR
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:12pm
    Not a death spiral - a suicide spiral.

    2nd Aug 2019
    12:23pm
    The questions put are: "Do the struggles in the healthcare sector concern you? Are you confident you will be able to hang on to your cover?"

    The struggles in health care do concern me. Mutual funded health care providers which were the norm in the early days of health insurance have mainly disappeared and most funds are shareholder owned. The focus on profits is now firmly fixed on shareholders and those of us who pay the premiums are not being considered.

    Medical providers can charge what ever they wish and there are no checks and balances as to what constitutes an acceptable fee for services. It seems to be a system of give the patient a quote and keep dropping it until their eyes stop rolling. In saying that, medical practitioners are small businesses and are there to make a living so it's difficult to legislate costs.

    We will hang onto our private health insurance because we have reached that age where knees, hips other complaints are becoming more noticeable. The treatment as a public patient is, in most cases, first class but being on a waiting list and having to endure the pain and discomfort is not an option.
    TREBOR
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:36pm
    The travel allowance I get for specialists covers any gaps..... got a few coming up, too.... oh, well... life's way of letting you know you're not dead yet...

    Remember that ad I quoted - specialist locum - $2500 a day....
    MICK
    2nd Aug 2019
    2:23pm
    Great Britain from my understanding EMPLOYS its own doctors. In America its all PRIVATE practice.
    We all know the results of an unconstrained increase in costs. If we give our doctor's half a chance we'll have an American style health system...supported by the current government. That's what it has wanted for a long time now.

    Your post is factual Trebor and this is being engineered by a perpetual but intentional shortage of doctors.
    Rae
    2nd Aug 2019
    3:11pm
    Unfortunately listed insurance companies don't fare well in recessions. They are excessively expensive and ofter collapse owing creditors and fund members money that is never paid out.

    The same rules should apply to the AMA as any other union. They are manipulating supply and causing high prices.
    TREBOR
    2nd Aug 2019
    10:36pm
    Yes - the AMA has no problem with their wage demands, no matter how big a percentage the increase is.... they just go ahead, and nobody calls them 'thugs'.....
    Curious
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:24pm
    I can sympathize how young people feel about private health cover. With the current low growth of wages, they still have to pay 2% of their wages to Medicare Levy. Even if they are healthy, each time they see a doctor or GP, they have to pay out of pocket unless the doctor does a bulk bill. It is uncertain how the government applies the collection of the 2% Medicare Levy. If the government uses the 2% Levy for the rebate on private health cover, the young people have made a contribution to the health system. Media and the Government seem to indicate the drop-out by the young people from the private health system is the cause of the funding crisis. 2% of their wages means a lot to our young working citizens, whose wages have been stagnated over a number of years along with other commitments such as HECS-fees and accommodations. Young working people can only cope too much.

    When I was a working lad in the 60's and 70's, I was a member of a health fund before the demutualization of this sector. These health funds invested in shares and properties as the reserves for the prosperity of their business. As I remember, they were doing more than alright.

    After the demutualization, the sources of funds for this sector are fund membership fees, which increase annually more than inflation, and government rebates. Apparently, this kind of funding is inadequate against medical and hospital fees and charges. Either the government rebates are not adequate or the costs of the hospital treatments has skyrocketed. The inability to find an equilibrium between the supply and demand should lead us to gather and analyze actual data to find out the real picture before we have generation warfare.
    GeorgeM
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:24pm
    This guy (Mark of NIB) is unbelievable! They (NIB) are currently running a campaign via FiftyUp Club to entice new members to get sucked in to become their members and get fleeced! All FiftyUp people need to be wary of such leeches merely interested in increasing their profits and bonuses extracted out of a fraud industry!

    That said, the Private Health Insurance system in Australia is a fraud on the people, as the Govt forces it on people (with penalties), approves large increases in premiums every year, and yet forces Patients to bear the Risk of Gaps and high Doctors fees. Insurance companies need to bear these Risks of ALL Gaps (all except 15% of Medicare Scheduled Fees) and high Doctors Fees, including for costs of Diagnostic Tests and Pharmaceuticals. Otherwise it is NOT Insurance, simply a scheme to refund a part of costs. Insurance companies are getting away with a complete con on people without taking on these Risks, and making great profits.

    The Govt needs to Change Laws as needed - to control / Cap Doctor's fees (not allow that Union to run riot with setting fees), and allow / persuade / force Insurance companies to cover ALL Risks for Gap Fees and all Medical Costs (all except 15% of Medicare Scheduled Fees), and then create a competitive market by ensuring Standard Products with full coverage are offered.
    TREBOR
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:38pm
    Another clear case of the utter failure of the 'business model'... like all the others.
    GeorgeM
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:49pm
    Yeah, but my concern also includes the fact that the Govt subsidises this "fraud business" model (just like Govt supports the big Banks) who then fleece us, the customers! Govt needs to wake up, or be made to wake up - who better than Retirees with their vast experience and spare time?
    TREBOR
    2nd Aug 2019
    10:38pm
    A week or so ago I panned the 'business model' of the water licencing system for the Murray-Darling (etc), which was supposed to somehow magically create more water, but instead just opened the sluice gates of the Treasury to entrepreneurs who produced nothing in many cases, except buying and selling water licences.

    $13 Bn and counting - all gone for no result...
    TREBOR
    2nd Aug 2019
    10:40pm
    That's a clear case of Mick's 'transfer of public (taxpayer) money into private hands' .... commonly called a rort, or, in most civilised nations, daylight robbery.
    ollie
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:38pm
    Its only a matter of time before this government will try to abolish Medicare they did not want it in the first place and will use any propaganda to get rid of it. The fact is myself and people like me had private health but simply could not afford it any longer with the cost of living rising power and gas unaffordable wages stagnated what do these morons expect and like any privately run organisation its all about profit that's why its unaffordable for lots of people the solution is simple let the rich have their private health no more subsidising for them and have a universal health system for those that cant afford it and people on a basic wage cant afford it
    ollie
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:38pm
    Its only a matter of time before this government will try to abolish Medicare they did not want it in the first place and will use any propaganda to get rid of it. The fact is myself and people like me had private health but simply could not afford it any longer with the cost of living rising power and gas unaffordable wages stagnated what do these morons expect and like any privately run organisation its all about profit that's why its unaffordable for lots of people the solution is simple let the rich have their private health no more subsidising for them and have a universal health system for those that cant afford it and people on a basic wage cant afford it
    Ahjay
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:55pm
    Prior to 1937 the majority of American medication was cannabis based, however Big Pharma could not patent it because it is a natural product, and in collusion with the lawmakers at the time they had it declared a dangerous drug and made it illegal.
    If it was freely available over the counter, it may reduce the demands on the health system to the degree that it becomes sustainable. It could not be as dangerous as some of the opiates and chemical products that are coming out of the pharmacies. At least it appears you can't OD on it.
    One of our biggest problems is over servicing.If you have tests or scans, why is it necessary to go to the doctor for the results? A text or Email would do the job for me.
    TREBOR
    2nd Aug 2019
    10:40pm
    Cooool ....
    KB
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:59pm
    Paddington I need to see a heart specialist. It will take me 6 months to one year to see one at the local hospital I could go private but there are specialists who visit the local hospital close by to me.Like you it is a case where the receptionist calls Glad to hear Sundays that your thyroid righted itself without the need fir an operation
    Sundays
    2nd Aug 2019
    3:43pm
    Thank you KB. I lost 8 kg in 3 weeks and was quite ill for a while as the condition also messes with your head. Stopped the medication years ago too. I was fortunate. Should you get heart pain, at some point, make sure you go to hospital immediately
    TREBOR
    2nd Aug 2019
    10:42pm
    Hmm - I got in for stents in under a month, with a quack who lectures at ANU. Of course, he was a Celtic type and not a highway robber... he actually considers his patients first...
    KB
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:59pm
    Paddington I need to see a heart specialist. It will take me 6 months to one year to see one at the local hospital I could go private but there are specialists who visit the local hospital close by to me.Like you it is a case where the receptionist calls Glad to hear Sundays that your thyroid righted itself without the need fir an operation
    KB
    2nd Aug 2019
    12:59pm
    Paddington I need to see a heart specialist. It will take me 6 months to one year to see one at the local hospital I could go private but there are specialists who visit the local hospital close by to me.Like you it is a case where the receptionist calls Glad to hear Sundays that your thyroid righted itself without the need fir an operation
    floss
    2nd Aug 2019
    1:19pm
    Lets beam Scotty up we can't afford him.
    Paddington
    5th Aug 2019
    10:16am
    Love this! Sadly, we just missed an opportunity!
    Tanker
    2nd Aug 2019
    2:06pm
    It has been an open secret for years that the LNP want to kill off Medicare and have everybody pay for private health cover. It would be fair to say that privatisation of publicly owned enterprises has definitely not worked out to be in the interests of the community. The drovers dog knows that the profit motive adds an extra layer into the price structure plus with multiple funds, supposedly to ensure competition, there come multiple administrations with CEOs on fat salaries with perks.
    Don't expect the LNP to sort this out in the communities interests as they are locked into their ideological straitjacket.
    Tanker
    2nd Aug 2019
    2:06pm
    It has been an open secret for years that the LNP want to kill off Medicare and have everybody pay for private health cover. It would be fair to say that privatisation of publicly owned enterprises has definitely not worked out to be in the interests of the community. The drovers dog knows that the profit motive adds an extra layer into the price structure plus with multiple funds, supposedly to ensure competition, there come multiple administrations with CEOs on fat salaries with perks.
    Don't expect the LNP to sort this out in the communities interests as they are locked into their ideological straitjacket.
    Ahjay
    2nd Aug 2019
    2:12pm
    Agree. Political donations should be a criminal offense.
    CarolAT
    2nd Aug 2019
    2:18pm
    Health insurers complain that it’s older (read: more expensive) people who are retaining their health insurance. But have they forgotten something? It’s these same older people who have been paying their premiums often for decades and who are supporting through past contributions younger/newer arrivals.
    MICK
    2nd Aug 2019
    2:26pm
    Business no longer has loyalty. Its all about what you can rip out of the system NOW.
    I actually had thought Fitzgibbon was plugging affordability rather than age for compulsory private health insurance calls to discriminate against some Australians.
    Joy
    2nd Aug 2019
    3:03pm
    Maybe the government should scrap the 30% rebate for private health funds up the Medicare levy just little ,but don't mess with our health system, trouble is State governments are busily wasting money appeasing unions with over inflated pay rates on government contracts, also the four hundred thousand dollars Andrews gave to build a mosque could have solved quite a few problems our hospitals and schools have. But that wouldn't get him votes.
    TREBOR
    2nd Aug 2019
    10:45pm
    How exactly does one go about 'appeasing Unions' by giving out contracts to businesses? Unions don't get contracts..... and they negotiate with the business over pay and conditions, according to the law......

    I'm extremely curious.... how do you arrive at the position that governments are handing out fat contracts to appease unions, when the reality is that the lion's share of profit goes to the company..... the workers earn their money by... working...
    Joy
    2nd Aug 2019
    3:04pm
    Maybe the government should scrap the 30% rebate for private health funds up the Medicare levy just little ,but don't mess with our health system, trouble is State governments are busily wasting money appeasing unions with over inflated pay rates on government contracts, also the four hundred thousand dollars Andrews gave to build a mosque could have solved quite a few problems our hospitals and schools have. But that wouldn't get him votes.
    Blinky
    2nd Aug 2019
    3:07pm
    There is nothing wrong with Medicare, it's perfect. Health funds need to stop being so greedy and offer better and more affordable services.
    They need to stop rising the premiums which are becoming unnaffordable x the middle class Aussies.
    Leave Medicare alone and get health funds get their act tigether and come up with a business plan that allows them to survive.!
    OJ21
    2nd Aug 2019
    3:10pm
    WHAT? He argues that privatizing Medicare would allow more competition. WTF they did it to Medibank and did it help? NO IT DIDN'T. What happened to the "Privatization reduces prices" mantra you hear from the Government continuously. HAS IT EVER REDUCED PRICES? Not in my lifetime. If they want competition they should act, as we are told time and time again, like "private companies" and compete. Why should we fund them when our money would be better spent in the public system. If they can't handle the heat GET OUT. That's what the government told the car industry, so what's the difference here?
    Blinky
    2nd Aug 2019
    3:12pm
    Health funds have a problem called "greed". It"s their problem, it's up to them to come up with a solution. Do not blame Medicare. Fitzgibbon ilooking to destroy a system which works.
    Blinky
    2nd Aug 2019
    3:12pm
    Health funds have a problem called "greed". It"s their problem, it's up to them to come up with a solution. Do not blame Medicare. Fitzgibbon ilooking to destroy a system which works.
    Blinky
    2nd Aug 2019
    3:12pm
    Health funds have a problem called "greed". It"s their problem, it's up to them to come up with a solution. Do not blame Medicare. Fitzgibbon ilooking to destroy a system which works.
    tactful
    2nd Aug 2019
    3:16pm
    I heard that Medibank will not be covering the full cost of being in a New South Wales public hospital for over 65's.
    Has anyone received an email advising of this? If so, contact the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman.
    Medibank are saying New South Wales Public Hospitals are the most expensive in Australia, it appears they just want people to head to their contracted hospitals.
    TREBOR
    2nd Aug 2019
    10:47pm
    Never heard of it - will never pay it.

    I'll go to war first..... don't laugh... there are Rubicons galore that need crossing in this nation...

    2nd Aug 2019
    3:24pm
    "Private health insurance industry in a ‘death spiral’"

    Good! It's a scam and a waste of money. Of course the NIB boss wants Medicare abolished: the greedy so-and-so wants his profit boosted.
    Pamiea
    2nd Aug 2019
    3:25pm
    I think people who have the means to pay for health insurance should be made to take out health insurancs instead of bludging on the system and then complain when things arent as they expect
    Sundays
    2nd Aug 2019
    3:52pm
    I think you’ll find that wealthy people would never wait in a queue for treatment in a Public Hospital. They either have private health, or can afford to pay for treatment outright. For everyone else it’s a balancing act of what they can and can’t afford to do without. Don’t forget all taxpayers pay the Medicare levy as well
    Paddington
    4th Aug 2019
    12:19am
    They do Sundays. They wait in pain rather than pay a cent. I believe it should be means tested to stop them gumming up the works. If someone with private cover can swipe their card at the public ER then the wealthy can cough up some money too. People who can afford private cover should do so to to keep it viable for poorer people who are paying for it. I like being able to choose my doctor and hospital.
    grub
    2nd Aug 2019
    4:47pm
    Something should definitely be done about the health funds. I'm a pensioner and pay into a health fund [ it doesn't come easy ] I have to pay $250.00 excess for hospital each year, I have been in hospital earlier this year & paid the excess & have to go in again soon but because I switched funds I have to pay another $250.00.Its not the private hospitals that charge it's the greedy health funds
    grub
    2nd Aug 2019
    4:47pm
    Something should definitely be done about the health funds. I'm a pensioner and pay into a health fund [ it doesn't come easy ] I have to pay $250.00 excess for hospital each year, I have been in hospital earlier this year & paid the excess & have to go in again soon but because I switched funds I have to pay another $250.00.Its not the private hospitals that charge it's the greedy health funds
    Ny19
    2nd Aug 2019
    4:55pm
    Get rid of these private funds and put everything into Medicare. Give us a National Health Service like they have in Britain, only better!
    KSS
    2nd Aug 2019
    7:11pm
    Be careful what you wish for. The UK system is not all beer and skittles either.
    Ny19
    2nd Aug 2019
    8:12pm
    It’s a million times better than our STUPID system KSS.
    TREBOR
    2nd Aug 2019
    10:48pm
    The moment political ideology gets involved everything goes to hell...
    Paddington
    4th Aug 2019
    12:21am
    It would never happen. This government would stuff it up. People with money are never disadvantaged only those with no money.
    4b2
    2nd Aug 2019
    5:06pm
    Privatization of the health insurance system has killed it. Private insurance has to return the best returns to investors. Like the NRMA when it privatized their insurance went through the roof.

    Bring back Medibank. The UK, Canada, and Switzerland all have a free health service why cant we.

    Thank GOD I have the Gold DVA card.
    Rae
    2nd Aug 2019
    6:06pm
    Is there anything that was public that is better, more efficient or cheaper after privatisation. I can't think of anything myself. All that supposed competition doesn't seem to do much to improve the private service providers.
    TREBOR
    2nd Aug 2019
    10:48pm
    Not One thing, Rae.
    flowerpot
    2nd Aug 2019
    5:20pm
    If you're going to make everyone pay, then why not make everyone pay towards Medicare? a It could come out of people's wages. That means that everyone would then be eligible and we can scrap private healthcare altogether. Like the UK's National Insurance scheme - everyone is eligible for healthcare and for the old-age pension because everyone had paid into it over their working lives.
    Rae
    2nd Aug 2019
    6:09pm
    They do. It's the medicare levy and is a % of income.
    KSS
    2nd Aug 2019
    7:14pm
    And the % you pay depends on what you ear and whether you have private health insurance or not. Its an extra 2% for not also having private insurance. Therefore we are paying for health care twice, medicare AND insurance. And we are STILL out of pocket should we make a claim on the insurance. Go the medicare route and there are no charges!
    Ny19
    2nd Aug 2019
    5:29pm
    I have a friend receiving cancer treatment. She and her partner are in a private fund with top cover but for some reason her treatment is costing nothing, covered by the tax payer. Why do some people in private funds pay for cancer treatments and yet others don’t??? It makes no sense. The current system is full of questionable complexity.
    Rae
    2nd Aug 2019
    6:12pm
    She may not be using the private system. Just because you have a private fund does not mean you have to use it. If it's something the public system will deal with then people would be crazy to pay the excess for private and they don't have to. Private is purely for non essential treatments faster . Things like cataracts and knee replacements.
    Ny19
    2nd Aug 2019
    8:23pm
    So people are paying $3,000 to $4,000 per year (for untold years) just in case they may need a joint replacement or cataract op one day? Crazy!!!
    GrayComputing
    3rd Aug 2019
    11:46am
    Typical NASTY comment from the Super rich and their eager supporters who are desperately stamping all over the living and near dead trying to get themselves to the top of the heap in this crazy world.
    What can we do to save us from this government and their Ultra right wing bunch of totally uncaring Christian zealots?
    inextratime
    3rd Aug 2019
    1:05pm
    Insurance is what it says. You pay in case you need it. I pay and it saved my life. Colon cancer, liver cancer and lung cancer over a period of four years. Top surgeons and little wait. One surgeon explained that the gap, a few thousand dollars was due to the high cost of his indemnity insurance, compulsory. That was 12 years ago and I'm well. $2,500 a year is cheap.
    inextratime
    3rd Aug 2019
    1:05pm
    Insurance is what it says. You pay in case you need it. I pay and it saved my life. Colon cancer, liver cancer and lung cancer over a period of four years. Top surgeons and little wait. One surgeon explained that the gap, a few thousand dollars was due to the high cost of his indemnity insurance, compulsory. That was 12 years ago and I'm well. $2,500 a year is cheap.
    inquisitive
    3rd Aug 2019
    4:07pm
    Medicare seems to be regarded as free, however, remember that 10% of workers wages go into
    it. If that is insufficient, then that amount needs to be increased, simple. The NIB guy is just looking after his lucrative job
    Ny19
    3rd Aug 2019
    8:18pm
    The current tax rate for Medicare is 1.45% for the employee and 1.45% for the employer or 2.9% in total. Lots of room for it to be increased to provide a national health system for all without the need for private health insurance.
    Viggen840
    4th Aug 2019
    8:41pm
    Sounds like they aren't making enough profit (for their executive bonuses) so they want the government to force people away from a government-supported health scheme (that is hopeless) and deliver funds to them to up their profits.
    I don't see that this is of any benefit for the people who can't afford private health insurance now and he admits that this would fail by 'those unable to contribute would still be covered by the federal government'. What is different to the current system except a gouge of funds that a lot of people now can't afford having to find additional money for health insurance they have to sacrifice other essentials for?
    I remember back to the days when Medicare was cancelled and private health insurance (and medical costs) were suddenly through the roof. Is there any guarantee that this would not happen again as soon as the industry gained control of the bulk of the population's health benefits?


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