13th Oct 2017

Health insurance overhaul largely ignores older Australians

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Leon Della Bosca

Australia’s private health insurance industry is about to have its biggest overhaul in decades, but the changes for which the Government fought so hard will only benefit younger Australians.

Unless you have a problem with your ticker or a bung hip.

Yes, the sweeping overhauls the Turnbull Government are touting heavily favour young people, who stand to save up to 10 per cent per year on health insurance premiums.

The rest of the population (you know, the bulk of the population who’ve paid high private health insurance premiums for years because it was supposed to, somehow, benefit us?) get pretty much zilch.



YourLifeChoices research shows that around 70 per cent of older Australians currently pay for private health insurance. It’s this cohort that’s been largely ignored.

But let’s look at the positives …

People between the ages of 19 and 29 will receive two per cent discounts for a maximum of five years. So, a 19-year-old taking out health insurance would see their premiums drop by 10 per cent once they hit 24. They will retain that discount until they are 40.

The new measures also plan to increase standard coverage benefits for anyone with mental health issues, which really is a positive for everyone.

The changes would also save Australians an estimated $300 million a year in price cuts on hip replacements and pacemakers.

The rest of us, it seems, will keep paying the average 5.6 per cent annual increase in premiums, but enjoy an improved ‘ratings system’.

This system will break down policies into Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic cover, which is pretty much the same system that’s been in place for years – at least with Medibank Private customers.

The Government thinks the ‘new’ categories will increase transparency between health insurance products and make it easier for Australians to shop around for a better deal.

It also claims that the changes will help the ageing population of the future. The existing older population, however, seems to have been overlooked.

What do you think of this ‘new deal’? Is it fair that there are no added benefits for older people? Do you stand to benefit from these overhauls?

Related articles:
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Managing health insurance costs
Do we need health insurance?





COMMENTS

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jackie
13th Oct 2017
10:25am
That is because the medical profession overhaul largely ignores older Australians too.
GrandmaKathleen22
13th Oct 2017
10:30am
The government is reducing their contribution every year. Over 70’s were getting 40% from the government towards private cover but that has now dropped to below 35%. This is so unfair and a miserable thing to do.
Shopping around for private health cover will reveal one that has no excess for day surgery who are based in Tasmania,
They are paying out well for dental too.
Ignore the comparing mobs and do your own research.
KSS
13th Oct 2017
1:33pm
At least you get 35% discount, far more than anyone else.
GrandmaKathleen22
13th Oct 2017
5:05pm
KSS, it has gone below that and will continue to reduce.
Over 70 people do not have an income as a rule.
Younger people’s also reduces which is equally wrong.
KSS
13th Oct 2017
5:08pm
Still more of a discount than anyone else.
GrandmaKathleen22
13th Oct 2017
9:52pm
KSS, everyone has lost more than 5% since government started to erode their contribution. The everyone else you keep referring to are not pensioners. No one should be losing it, that is the point, but elderly people trying to do the right thing and provide some relief to the public system that is struggling hound be appreciated. Also, if you have private cover and go the emergency for the day your private fund will actually give money towards the visit, something like $400. They ask you if you will do that and of course you agree.
I know very wealthy people who use the public system but spend huge amounts of money on other things. So, let us applaud the elderly pensioners who make sacrifices to pay their private health fund and it is in the government’s interest to stop eroding their contribution because people save the government money by looking after their hospital over.
KSS
13th Oct 2017
10:07pm
But they still get a higher discount than anyone else!
Chrissy L
13th Oct 2017
10:56am
What else is new? Older Australians have been largely ignored by this Government since it came to office. We have been either ignored or fleeced, our part pensions reduced, our Superannuation tinkered with, our contribution to society ignored. It will be interesting to see if this Government throws in a few tit bits for Older Australians before the next election. However, I think the current Government are in for a shock at the next election, we haven't all lost our marbles, most of us have excellent memories, and there will be a 'Grey Tsunami' of rejection for them at the ballot box.
Knight Templar
13th Oct 2017
12:00pm
Chrissy L ... there may well be a rejection of this government at the ballot box but it is unlikely that a Labor government will be any better. You might as well believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden.
George
13th Oct 2017
5:35pm
Agree with both of you, in fact do not vote for any Liberal, Labor or Greens as all of them have collaborated to stuff up oldies. Put the current seat-warmers last in preferences to ensure there is a change and not reward these leeches who only look after themselves.
KeyC
13th Oct 2017
11:18am
Not surprised. Working in public hospital I have become very aware just how 'disposable' the older person has become. It really has become crucial for the older people to be in unison and get your 'voice' back. There are avenues for that. Just a little bit of effort. The older people have been ignored to become the society's 'invisible' group and perceived as a 'burden'. Voice your concerns. We all have rights and have the responsibility to use our right to vote. Let's stand together on this and the so many other issues that directly impact on our lives.
dstark
13th Oct 2017
11:30am
As we age our hospital and medical needs increase in quantity and price because medical science is developing remedies the cost of which rise faster than the average cost of living.

With average life expectancy increasing 3mth every year, in 28 years men on average will live to 100, and will require far more medical treatments than current 72 year olds.

Why should the young be expected to pay for insurance they don't need, just to keep up oldies alive. We should have saved for our retirement, not expect others to pay for it.
KeyC
13th Oct 2017
11:57am
Disagree. Growing old does not necessarily mean one will have all these health issues. I would hope that all of us young and old demonstrate and take responsibility of looking after our health and wellbeing - first and foremost. For those of us who have struggled to do so for whatever reason; they are the ones who should be saying "why should the young be expected to pay for insurance they don't need,.........". So may I suggest, that if health problems have been self -inflicted then bear the cost. Cannot demand young [or the old for that matter "to pay". However, the government with real leadership will ensure that all sectors of society are fairly treated. But we do know from our own experience this is not the case. We are made to feel like we do not deserve equitable treatment. I actually think that the government [whom the electorate has voted for] is quite happy to exercise its power t sustain unfair treatment; and seemingly portray it is being caring with regard to older people.
I can tell you with certainty that the older person entering hospital with chronic medical issues, or misfortune of deconditioning whether natural causes or not, are far more under greater pressure to be moved into nursing homes than ever before. And that's another consequence of the government's method of shirking its responsibility to support, care and sustain the older person in their own home environment. Well I have said enough.... but hope you can see where this is from ....and where it is going. Raise your voice against unfair treatment of the older people1
Rae
13th Oct 2017
2:54pm
I disagree as well. I have paid private health cover since 1972 and have rarely used it as I am fortunately health.

There was no childcare rebates, home grants, baby bonuses etc which these young people get and no free education either.

Personally I'm over all this generosity to all and sundry and all I do is pay bloody tax. Over it.

All these tax dollars going to the young smack of ageism which is as bad as any other discrimination the MSM fleet about.
Rainey
13th Oct 2017
4:43pm
We paid to keep ''oldies'' alive and in at least modest comfort when we were young. We also struggled with 18%+ interest rates on our housing loans, no childcare rebates, no home grants or baby bonuses, and vast numbers of us didn't even get to finish high school, let alone go to university. We worked and paid taxes from age 15. And now the spoilt young, who benefited hugely from our hard work and sacrifice, whinge and whine about supporting us in our old age, while they enjoy record-low interest rates at the expense of the aged who can't achieve a decent return on their savings.

The way the aged are treated speaks volumes about the integrity and basic decency of the young in a society. Sadly, it's not speaking well of the young in Australia today.
jackie
16th Oct 2017
10:57am
dstark... All us oldies should stop being experiment jobs for the medical profession. I remember when health insurance cost peanuts when I was young but that was before insurance companies got rich and greedy. I have watched their buildings get bigger and taller over the years. I never minded that my taxes went to the elderly and disadvantaged Australians all my life. I remember then when many elderly used to spend months and sometimes years in hospitals and the Governments back then never complained. The rich are richer than ever these days and meaner than ever too. Never forget, you can't take it all with you when you go. It's useless in the real world.
Marylu
13th Oct 2017
11:32am
GrandmaKathleen2 can you fess up and name the health insurance provider you are referring to for those of us that are interested, please :)
Tzuki
13th Oct 2017
1:33pm
Yes I would like to know also :) please
GrandmaKathleen22
13th Oct 2017
5:21pm
Health Care Insurance based in Tasmania. No excess for day surgery. We have opted for the top excesswith top cover for extras as well. Works out to $30 a week each.
net
13th Oct 2017
11:33am
What a load of crap
It looks like they are doing something
Why don’t they give some incentives to older people to stay heathy, l have being paying health insurance since l started work and l am always penalised. Why don’t they give older people money back each year when maybe they haven’t used all their benefits as an example. So what is going to happen is the older people won’t be able to afford their premiums and they will be getting out and that will be an even bigger strain on the Medicare system. What a pack of dick heads
Tib
13th Oct 2017
12:14pm
The private health insurance company's don't want us. They want young healthy people who pay premiums and don't make claims. The government feels the same way, if your not paying any taxes , please feel free to drop dead. I wish they would do the same.
Maggie
13th Oct 2017
1:50pm
Wrong there, the profit-making companies will take money off anyone! Try it and see.
George
13th Oct 2017
5:39pm
Agree, Tib. In fact, this is AGE DISCRIMINATION, so I am not sure how they are allowed to do it.

Insurance is meant to spread risk across different risk-groups, otherwise they can now start assigning different premiums based on individual health issues. This Govt stinks! Labor are no better! Vote them all out!
Tib
13th Oct 2017
9:27pm
Maggie profits quickly disappear when you have customers who are old and sick and make lots of claims. New hip , heart bypass lower back problems and on and on. Trust me when your claims are higher than your premiums they just want you to go away. After all it's all about profit and they don't care what you paid over the last 30 years.
Maggie
13th Oct 2017
9:38pm
Hi Tib, I mean no disrespect in questioning you - it's just that I am tired of reading statements which are unsupported. If you can tell us which Health Cover company/ies you have tried to join and and why you were rejected, it would be helpful It would also give us the opportunity to take our business where it is wanted.

I do feel that it is a bit unfair for people who have never had private health cover to try to join say just a year before they need a hip replacement or whatever though.
Tib
13th Oct 2017
10:54pm
Maggie you're missing my point. It's not that health insurance companies reject our applications for insurance, they can't do that for a number of reasons. But neither do they want our business for the reasons I mentioned. The article states that older Australians have been ignored, well insurance companies don't see use as high value customers. So don't expect favours from them or really any interest. We are a necessary evil. That is why younger people get the discount. I hope you understand my comment now.
inextratime
13th Oct 2017
12:18pm
Why would Malcolm care ? His net worth is around $100m. He knows the election is lost and future votes come from younger generations.
Eddy
13th Oct 2017
1:08pm
I am looking at this in a holistic way. The younger members of our community need help with their health insurance premiums because the government supports the cuts in penalty rates. Unfortunately these young people cannot afford health insurance because their penalty rates have been cut. A bit like the game of thimblerig.
KSS
13th Oct 2017
1:40pm
BS Eddie. The 19-29 year olds could afford health insurance IF they made different choices just like everyone else has to. They have the most discretionary spend as they are less likely to have kids or mortgages. Health insurance is expensive for everyone, individuals, couples,families ofall ages but singles pay the most of all because they can't get 'family' cover.
GrandmaKathleen22
13th Oct 2017
5:09pm
KSS, sorry but you are mistaken. A couple and family rate is the same and children do not have an excess applied. A couple is a single times two and no more.
Maggie
13th Oct 2017
1:48pm
There are so many people who write in in response to these articles and many who do not, who must have really great, constructive ideas about improving things. Wouldn't it be great if instead of whining on . . . . and on . . . we could come up with some positive creative input.

Could we not think of this in a different way? We need younger people paying for private health insurance both for their own benefit and to supplement the funds needed for the public sector.

Young people who are keen on sport often suffer nasty injuries, and they are just as prone to many of the illnesses older people suffer. They are more prone too to horrible road accidents.

These younger people will age too, and will in turn reap the benefit of what younger people are paying. It has to start somewhere.

Along with this I think a new policy of informing young people early on in their lives, that if they are going to indulge in smoking, drinking and eating too much and drug abuse, the resulting illnesses will not be covered by Medicare. That would save a heap of money for older people, and younger ones too, who cannot afford private cover to get treatment.
GrandmaKathleen22
13th Oct 2017
5:23pm
When young people were interviewed today about private health care some had no knowledge or interest. We need them to pay a minimum because it helps everyone.
Rae
14th Oct 2017
9:28am
Scrap private health insurance completely. Use the funds to fund public health. Require a deemed rate of costs based on gross income.

If all the profit was supporting public health we would have a great health system as it was envisaged and as it works in many countries with universal health and no private system.

The only reason we pay thousands each year in health insurance is the fear the public system will fail us.

The medicare levy should be paid by everyone based on gross income levels.
KSS
13th Oct 2017
1:50pm
There are two points being missed here. The reduction in the costs of 'spare part's will ultimately affect everyone since we all pay for them whether we use them or not. In just the same way we all pay for careless drivers who constantly need their vehicle repaired through our own car insurance. Insurance is a collective pool of money we all draw on when necessary. It is a fact of life that ageing people do cost more in health care even when some may be in perfect health and no medications. Those with chronic illnesses the so called lifestyle diseases also cost,all if us even when we have done all we could to avoid it ourselves.that is how insurance works. Ifthe spare part costs come down so should the cost to the insured. In addition, there was also a report that inured in these changes is a cap on premium increases to the CPI. If this does eventuate, at least the rises will be lower. For the past few years my increases gave been in the order of 15% year and like many I have not made a claim.
GrandmaKathleen22
13th Oct 2017
5:16pm
KSS, I changed my health cover recently after the premiums were raised. Shop around. Health Care Insurance based in Tasmania offers no excess on day surgery. They pay well for their extras like dental which most people use. You can also have a different mob for hospital and extras. Glasses can be split across Christmas and New Year by putting lenses through in December and frames theoughnin January. Also, if you are making no claims go for the highest excess like $1000 which Health Care Insurance offers.
KSS
13th Oct 2017
10:11pm
GrandmaKathleen I shop around every year and have no loyalty to any health fund. And I always take top cover!
4b2
13th Oct 2017
2:21pm
Some overhaul, this is a sly way to get younger people into a fraudulent financial scam. You pay we take and then make up ways to minimise payouts making the gap wider.
Get rid of the for profit organisations they cant serve two masters (their investors and the customers). If they are so successful why do they need subsidising by the Taxpayer and increases every year. SCAM.
floss
13th Oct 2017
3:25pm
A bit like Mals budget all smoke and mirrors it is a insult to older people that built this place.A once great country going to the pack.
Old Man
13th Oct 2017
3:53pm
Again, the writers have given us a part of the decisions by government. It's not much use telling us the truth and nothing but the truth when the crucial part of that, the whole truth, is missing.

Premium rises for people over 30 will be 1% a year lower. Rebates will be banned for a range of unproven natural therapies including aromatherapy, homeopathy, iridology, naturopathy, reflexology, shiatsu and tai chi. At last something is being done to address the apparent rip-off of the costs associated with knee and hip replacements where Australian costs are almost 10 times the costs of European countries.

All of these measures should ensure that the savings by health insurers can be passed back to the members in reduced premiums.
Tom Tank
13th Oct 2017
4:16pm
The LNP have consistently tried to move us into an American style health system. To me there is an ethical issue of companies making a profit out of people's ill health.
Private Health Insurance is not financially viable without significant taxpayer subsidy. The car industry was shut down because it needed government support yet the Private health Industry survives with multiple companies with management, marketing and sales structures to support with government help.
The salaries all these people need, some at the top doing very nicely thank you, are a drag on health costs because of the multiplicity of insurers.
Old Man
13th Oct 2017
4:20pm
Thanks Tom Tank, I have seen that comment about an American system before. Can you please explain how you know this to be a fact? A lot of accusations are aired in this forum, most of which are made up but, I'm sure, yours have some proof to back up your statement.
Rainey
13th Oct 2017
4:47pm
Oh good! Ban rebates for the natural therapies that so many rely on because, after all, using these deprives doctors and specialists of their massive incomes for treatments that DON'T WORK, or have hideous side effects. Naturopathy certainly isn't ''unproven''. What a ridiculous claim!
Maggie
14th Oct 2017
1:03pm
Some sanity from Old Man. Thank you.
kinkakuji
13th Oct 2017
4:26pm
If you are an older senior citizen and can no longer take care of yourself and need Long-Term Care, but the government says there is no Nursing Home care available for you, what do you do? You may opt for Medicare Part G.
The plan gives anyone 75 or older a gun (Part G) and one bullet. You may then shoot one worthless politician.
This means you will be sent to prison for the rest of your life where you will receive three meals a day, a roof over your head,
central heating and air conditioning, cable TV, a library, and all the health care you need. Need new teeth? No problem.
Need glasses? That’s great. Need a hearing aid, new hip, knees, kidney, lungs, sex change, or heart? They are all covered!
As an added bonus, your kids can come and visit you at least as often as they do now!
And, who will be paying for all of this? The same government that just told you they can’t afford for you to go into a nursing home.
And you will get rid of a useless politician while you are at it. And now, because you are a prisoner, you don't have to pay any more income taxes!
Is this a great country or what?
Now that you have solved your senior Long-Term Care problem, enjoy the rest of your week!
GrandmaKathleen22
13th Oct 2017
5:19pm
Ha ha, good one!
Gee Whiz
13th Oct 2017
4:26pm
Don't expect too much. This is the government we are talking about. When have you ever known them to get anything right or make things attractive enough to get people to accept them.

I'm willing to bet this will be a fizzer because they are terrified of the power Private Health funds can bring against them.
grub
13th Oct 2017
5:36pm
It should be the health funds looking after the elderly, we have been paying into these funds a lot longer than the 30 yr olds.It's mighty hard on the pension & forking out for the health funds. of course the elderly are ignored once again.
George
13th Oct 2017
5:41pm
In fact, they should be giving Loyalty Bonus based on years of membership, especially years without claims!
disillusioned
14th Oct 2017
7:41am
Of course the elderly are ignored by this unconscionable LNP government! They see us as a drain on the economy, never mind that we've contributed to their tax funds for many years during our working lives. The real drains are the tax-avoiding Big Business, millionaires like our "illustrious" PM, and the politicians, whose lifestyle improves with lurks and perks forever ad nauseum after they've left the political arena. This mob doesn't give a tuppeny dump about the elderly, the sick or the disadvantaged! Our human rights reputation has degraded enormously under this crowd!!
ex PS
14th Oct 2017
9:08am
With this government Health Cover will go the same way as Super, they will sign everybody up and then make so many changes to the way they administer the providers, that it will be useless. It has been proven time and again that when the government introduces subsidies Private Enterprise raise their rates accordingly.
It's just a publicity stunt.
dreamer
14th Oct 2017
11:53am
Wedensday-pay you to freeze to death
thursday-centrelink going overseas like the ato must learn indian
friday-healthcar drop prices for the young fit ones
cant wait for monday
ray from Bondi
14th Oct 2017
12:08pm
Just Smoke and mirrors the same as when pensions were raised for single people do you think the government paid extra NO!!! the money was snacked from married people who pension went down by a significant amount, the second persons pension was 2/3 of whatever, it is now 1/2 and for people who are struggling that is significant. The same with this is it really going to make any difference and have a look at the date when it is going to implement years away, so once again smoke and mirrors the government is trying to convince the poor and disadvantaged that they are helping but really doing nothing.
Big Kev
14th Oct 2017
6:46pm
What irks me is that this Government(?) is so focussed on affecting the elderly. We get screwed over on this, we can't claim excess medication or medical costs as tax deductions either. At a time when the retired have the highest costs of their lifetime they get done for getting older by a Government bent on saving money except when it comes to big business.
dreamer
14th Oct 2017
7:24pm
big kev you are so right ex extrasurer costella says whe should goverment run the the the super or there mates
Maggie
15th Oct 2017
4:50pm
One good thing though is that there is the medicare safety net for meds and for doctors' visits. This has made a huge difference to me this year and I am grateful for it.
Virginia
15th Oct 2017
3:26pm
The biggest sting with Private Health Insurance is that
1 we pay the Levy
2 we pay the Insurance premiums
3 we pay extra when getting a medical procedure.
4 we pay $350 to go to a private hospital emergency with no rebate
COME ON play fair.
Maggie
15th Oct 2017
4:46pm
I think it is time the fees charged by surgeons for all procedures, and by anaesthetists for their time, were published so that we could get the best value for money. I have read in the papers that there is a huge difference here, especially for surgeons and since we are paying the out of pocket expenses, we are entitled to know.

And again, since we are paying either through premiums or possibly out of pocket for them too, we have the right to know which private hospitals are the best.

I think I read somewhere that a typical visit to a public emergency department costs around $850 (I stand to be corrected here). We can choose what we want to pay for here.


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