Private health reforms snub seniors

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?

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Managing health insurance costs
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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.


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