13th Feb 2017

Health premium increases to hit consumers hard

FONT SIZE: A+ A-
Couple calculating health care costs
Debbie McTaggart

On Friday Health Minister Greg Hunt announced that the Government had approved private health insurance premium increases of up to almost five per cent. With the average increase being 4.84 per cent, this is the lowest in 10 years, but will still result in premiums jumping by up to $200 per year.

At 3.3 times the rate of inflation in 2016, there are genuine concerns that private health insurance is becoming a luxury many Australians can’t afford.

"I realise cost of living pressures are a major concern for Australian families. Although this is the lowest increase in a decade, I am determined that more can be done to get better value for families," said Mr Hunt. "As the new Health Minister, I will work with insurers over the next year to find ways insurers can deliver more value for customers without compromising on the quality of cover."

Customers can find the details of their health fund increases by visiting Health.gov.au



The reasons cited for the increases include, labour costs, advanced technology, an ageing and ailing population and public hospitals encouraging patients to allow them to claim costs from health insurers.

Since 2009, premiums have increased by 54.6 per cent, although the consumer price saw an increase of only 19 per cent over the same period. Compounding the problem is the reduction of the private health insurance rebate that has steadily decreased since June 2013, as a result of the Lifetime Health Cover loading being excluded.

"This latest increase means private health insurance customers have been hit with a 54.6% cumulative price hike since 2009, forcing many to downgrade or drop their private health insurance," says CHOICE head of media Tom Godfrey.

"Notwithstanding the barrage of fear-­laden advertising from health insurers and for­-profit switching sites, private cover is unaffordable and often unnecessary for many consumers."

With the increases in mind, CHOICE last month introduced its DoINeedHealthInsurance.com.au, to help consumers evaluate their individual need for private health insurance.

If you’re looking to reduce your health insurance premiums, CHOICE suggests: 

  • consider increasing your excess to reduce your premium
  • see if your health fund offers discounts for paying by direct debit
  • ask yourself if you really need extras cover: if the amount you claim is lower than your premium, consider dropping it
  • check to see if you can join a restricted membership health fun.
  • pay your annual premium in March to put off the 1 April  price hike until next year
  • take the Do I Need Health Insurance? health check to see if there's any tax benefit in paying for hospital cover.

 

Read more at CHOICE.com.au

Opinion: What are the real numbers behind the increases?

Each year health insurers provide a plethora of data to the Health Minister to justify slogging customers with premium increases that far outweigh the rate of inflation. And year after year the Health Minister seemingly just signs on the dotted line.

This year, we’ve been told that we should be thankful the increases were not higher and that the cost reduction of hip and knee replacements and some prostheses are the reason. But what are the numbers that justify such an increase?

Health insurers have cited increased costs of procedures, more people using health services, advances in technology and even that public hospitals are encouraging patients to allow them to claim from health funds for services provided. Even our ageing population is blamed. Yet, I doubt if anywhere in the documentation provided to the Health Minister is the need to cover the increasing salaries and shareholder returns.

Medibank Private’s annual report states that the salary of its former chief executive rose from $1.4 million to $2.4 million in 2016, while NIB’s chief executive saw his total salary increase by 95 per cent to $1.76 million.

The premium increases, approximately $2 per week for singles and $4 for families come at a time when satisfaction with health insurers has taken a hit, with many Australians, 15 per cent according to a Finder.com.au survey, considering cancelling their health insurance.  A Roy Morgan survey last year also found that overall satisfaction with health insurers had dropped from 76.3 per cent in 2015 to 74.4 per cent in 2016.

Perhaps it’s time to heed the words of the Prime Minster and seriously consider whether private health insurance is worth the premium. Speaking on 3AW on Friday, Mr Turnbull said, "My counsel would be that people should stay in private health insurance but obviously people have got to make their own decisions.

"At a time when household budgets are tight every additional cost hurts, there's no question about that. 

What do you think? Have you, or are you planning to cancel your health insurance due to cost or dissatisfaction with your provider? Should the Health Minister do more to keep the premium increases to a minimum? Should health insurers be more accountable by making public the figures used to justify their claims for premium increases?

Related articles:
Managing health insurance costs
Do I still need private health insurance?





COMMENTS

To make a comment, please register or login
TREBOR
13th Feb 2017
10:31am
(sticks tongue in cheek) At least this government is fair - they not only slam Medicare into the ground like an old fence post, but they slug the private user as well.

This drive to force everyone onto private health insurance, as their chosen 'business model' for healthcare in this country, is just another looming disaster of massive proportions, and will lead to poorer outcomes for many, will assist in the campaign to reduce longevity in many thus creating a better outcome for the social security budget, and will eventually give us yet another huge social division in this country - only the cashed-up will be able to afford healthcare (same as when this Sheriff of Nottingham crew decide the Pension will come back out of estate, meaning only the cashed-up are Entitled to give their children an inheritance) while the peasants will take patent medicines and home remedies and will expire in the fields.

Amazingly - this is a pretty clear picture of what the actual thought processes are for this lot (not that their oppos are much better these days in their social conscience etc) - and our elected governments and their lackeys, as I've said many times, are little (if anything) short of being true psychopaths and sociopaths.

The reality that they simply do not understand - or they DO understand and actually plan things the way they do - means they are psychopaths.
Rainey
14th Feb 2017
2:56pm
The latter, Trebor. Definitely the latter.
TREBOR
14th Feb 2017
11:57pm
I agree, but I still shake my head in disbelief that such people can actually believe they are doing right for everyone. It's a bit like coppers who fit people up on the assumption that they must be bad some way or other, and have no conscience about it.

I'm convinced half the people in this country, particularly those in positions of power - are insane.
Rainey
15th Feb 2017
9:03am
No, Trebor. A lot in power are insane, but most are corrupt, self-interested, dishonest egomaniacs pursuing their own undisclosed agenda.

As executor of a disputed will, I thought the applicant was insane, but I learned that she was just a manipulative, greedy, lying bitch with an entitlement complex. I think most in power are just like her.
George
15th Feb 2017
3:12pm
The same disgusting attitude from ever Health Minister that they are doing the best for us - CRAP!

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 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 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, and allow / persuade 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.

A Peitition is sorely needed - hope YLC (Debbie?) can lead it, as a lot of retirees and the general public will support it.
Eddy
13th Feb 2017
10:41am
My view is that if you are seriously ill a public hospital will give you equal, if not better, care than the private system. The major advantage of health insurance is the quick availability of 'elective' surgery, ie surgery for non-life threatening but quality of life improvement (ie hip or knee replacement).
Many nurses will tell you that public hospitals are better and they don't charge extra for ancillary items like pharmaceuticals, scans, x-rays, physio etc. Many women have their babies in public hospitals as it is cheaper than private without compromising quality.
After a 50+ years with health insurance I believe it is not a good investment. Back in the 'old' days before Howard used tax as punishment for not having private insurance, many people self insured.
TREBOR
13th Feb 2017
10:47am
Yes, indeed... I'm just looking forward to a Health Hunger Games future.....

I've always received better care for free than even neighbours who've had private for years, never costs me a cent, and I've had a few things done and a few to go. Lots of old injuries and stress-related illnesses like stomach etc.

The ex had a long wait on public for a hip replacement and couple of postponements, which was cruel let me tell you, but at least she can limp around better now with far less pain.

I was appalled that a neighbour on private had a relatively minor tail bone op, and it cost him a couple of grand out of pocket... I've had shoulder work with some of the top surgeons (lectures at ANU etc) etc for not one cent, and my cardiac (five stents and I still look fit) and gut specialists cost me nothing.
TREBOR
13th Feb 2017
10:53am
Eddy - as many high-use procedures become more and more costly, along with diagnostic equipment and so forth (not to mention healthcare staff), it is distinctly possible that some services might be cut to ease the 'budget'.

That's what it's all about. I wonder if anyone has done a full cost benefit analysis on the 12% employment in health care and so forth.

As an aside - I did a survey at a hospital the other day, and commented to the lass doing it (a nursing student) that in my next life I wanted to come back as an Asian so I could be a doctor, paying full fees at the university, since there were so many of those there.

I think - with all due respect - that our education system is itself treating Australian students as second class, based on petty cash. Are out students so stupid here they can't compete... or is it all about money now? Perhaps, like so many other areas of life, the universities need a savage review of their admin costs, including their amazing super scheme. Do they really need a 'dean' to manage their 'budget' and cop a lazy mill plus perks for doing so? Couple of friends are ex uni/CSIRO people and their super is amazing considering they are twenty years younger than I am.
Old Geezer
13th Feb 2017
11:11am
I took a 12 year old girl from my family to hospital about 6 years with what the GP thought was appendicitis. Registrar said agreed and booked the operating theatre for surgery. At this point the registrar decided that since she was covered by private insurance they would call in a specialist for a second opinion. Specialist had a look at her and said he wanted to do more tests first. So after more tests and a couple days in hospital it was thought to be a virus and has had no problem since. So she avoided unnecessary surgery thanks to private health insurance. Best of all it cost nothing more than if she had been a public patient. She had single room and the best of care.
TREBOR
13th Feb 2017
11:33am
And you know 100% they only called in a specialist because she was on private healthcare HOW, OG? Sounds pretty standard procedure to me, especially when first port of call is a registrar.

Methinks you're making the story fit a line again.....
Old Geezer
13th Feb 2017
12:52pm
Nope Trebor the registrar wold have operated if she wasn't covered by private insurance.

OK Another instant where private health insurance was worth every penny. I knew a fellow who had been waiting months for a hernia operation. I had my surgeon check out what I thought may have been a hernia on a routine visit. That was on a Thursday and I had that hernia repaired the following Monday without any complications. The fellow had to wait a few more months and then finally got his op. It didn't go too well as they had to operate twice again to fix it up. One wonders who did his op with all the trouble he had.

Got a couple of other examples but they are a bit gruesome.
TREBOR
13th Feb 2017
1:00pm
A registrar is but one year removed from study - I'm pretty sure a specialist would be the order of the day.
TREBOR
13th Feb 2017
1:06pm
You make a telling argument for the abolition of doctor's preference for private patients, OG. Personally I find such choices on the part of doctors to be unconscionable, and they are crying out to be properly regulated and told to prioritise their patients according to as set of issues, including triage, time on wait, and so forth.

This nonsense that they are somehow independent business contractors who can pick and choose is part of the problem.

I waited one month for heart surgery from the top man in Oz - had one shoulder repaired by the same surgeon as the State Premier's wife within days, had the other de-spurred by another top man within first available time, got a nose rebuild in a private hospital by another top man ... all for free... I'm lucky to not have to deal with the mundane things like hernia and cancer (much on the last - got an appointment - free)...

I think there is some solid argument for genuine doctors to do the job for all equally without consideration of money they don't need. All my doctors seem to think it is an honour to do my surgeries etc.... oh, well... I guess it's because I treat them like human beings.
TREBOR
13th Feb 2017
1:08pm
Some numbah crunchahs have worked out that abolishing the private system and putting all the subsidies into one public healthcare system would cost less.... that's one side of the question.

We all know by now that this privateer approach is costly and wasteful.. look no further than your power bill - yet fools continue to ride at the chimerical windmill that 'private industry is more efficient'.... LMAO.
Old Geezer
13th Feb 2017
1:41pm
I want to choose who operates on me Trebor and not have someone practice on me.
Rosret
13th Feb 2017
6:45pm
Eddy I insure "just in case" however I would love to hear from those who aren't and have had elective surgery and /or major surgery and whether they wished they had had private insurance.
Its not just the increase in costs its the gap - and its huge.
TREBOR
13th Feb 2017
7:09pm
I've had major stuff done as I've listed elsewhere here, and all for free.. even old Digger mates think I've got some inside running, making me the spy some of them think I am (not true) ... I haven't had 'elective surgery' though... no need YET for knees and stuff - they're too far gone already, but I'm pretty tough.. it's in the DNA.
Old Man
13th Feb 2017
8:02pm
I agree Eddy, if it's an emergency I don't give a rat's who operates on me. Almost all doctors and surgeons have a very high skill set and are quite able to carry out most operations. We keep our private health insurance for those times which may arise where we have a problem, not life threatening, which puts us at the end of a waiting list and we would rather not put up with the pain. Unlike TREBOR, I have a low pain threshold.
maxchugg
13th Feb 2017
8:20pm
You overlook a critical point. A friend of mine had health insurance all of his working life but dropped his policy when he became a pensioner and could no longer afford the premiums.

Almost 4 years ago he found that he needed cataract surgery and had just about reached a point where he could not drive his car, when he received an operation on one eye after a wait of over 3 years.

Currently he has been waiting an additional 6 months for surgery on the other eye.

There is room for suspicion that surgery for the elderly is delayed for lengthy periods in the expectation that savings will be achieved by the person dying before they get the surgery they need.
Eddy
13th Feb 2017
9:45pm
Great Rosret and Old Man, you have chosen to maintain your health insurance, which is your right. I applaud your decision. However the point I was trying to make that, in retrospect, over a lifetime my health insurance was a poor investment. I believe I would have been better served 'self insuring' for 'elective' procedures by saving the funds I contributed, (admittedly I probably wouldn't have saved much, with kids to raise and educate I would have spent the money on more pressing things). Even though I now have a DVA Gold Card I have to maintain 'single rate' health insurance for my wife, she insists.
Old Man
13th Feb 2017
9:53pm
You have hit the nail on the head Eddy, it's the discipline needed to save the premiums that beats us all. Children's needs will always trump good intentions. I salute your service and applaud your good sense in listening to your wife. Happy wife, happy life.
TREBOR
14th Feb 2017
2:17am
I'm ex-RAAMC - I know the ropes.... and in those situations the docs do not ask for your credit card first.....

Maybe I'm spoilt.....
TREBOR
14th Feb 2017
2:19am
Eddy - I read that your wife is still working- very wise to keep some health insurance for her, though, like you, I question the value over a lifetime.
Rainey
14th Feb 2017
3:47pm
OG, that story about a 12 year old girl - CRAP! Ýou regurgitate more bull dust than an entire herd of bulls could kick up over their lifetime. And I assure you, most readers here are far too intelligent to swallow your garbage. So take your politically-motivated lies somewhere else, please.
Rainey
14th Feb 2017
4:06pm
Yes, Eddy, you are wise. When I first started work, a boss told me he had saved what he would have paid in health insurance premiums for a few of years and used it as a deposit on an investment house. That house became his health insurance policy. He put what would otherwise have been paid in premiums into renovations and improvements and adding to the rent income to pay the mortgage off quickly, then he started a special bank account in which all the earnings from that house were saved, and from which all medical bills were paid. In old age, he'd have had a nice nest egg.
Old Geezer
14th Feb 2017
5:20pm
Rainey I have actually been talking to that once 12 year old girl today and she couldn't be healthier.

Yes can not pay health insurance but when you earn enough money you get slugged with a lot extra in Medicare levies so why not buy private health insurance and actually get something for your money instead of paying those big Medicare levies. What you boss paid in extra Medicare levies would have also paid for his private health insurance. I don't think your boss was very clever at all Rainey. Now if he didn't earn enough for the extra Medicare levies then Rainey he must have been well into your wealthfare payments and fiddling his income.

So he could of had his cake and eaten it as well but only got the cake.
Eddy
15th Feb 2017
1:37am
While I do not know the exact year when the punishing medicare levy for not having private health insurance started. It is a recent innovation bought in by the Howard government to 'encourage' self insurers to take out health insurance. Another example that in the Liberals lexicon, 'free choice' actually means the choices with which they approve. Prior that many individuals used medicare for serious conditions and self insured for non-serious conditions.
Eddy
15th Feb 2017
1:44am
I just looked it up. The Medicare Levy Surcharge was introduced on 1 July 1997.
Rainey
15th Feb 2017
8:58am
Correct, Eddy, so OG is FULL OF S.... YET AGAIN! The boss I referred to would have been long dead by 1997. OG, when will you learn to investigate facts and consider circumstances before jumping in with STUPID rants that make you look like a prize (and very prejudiced) IDIOT? Your ignorance is showing.

As for the 12 year old, I've no doubt she's healthy. And doctors make mistakes - ALL doctors. I've been the victim of serious mistakes - by PRIVATE SPECIALISTS who charge BIG BUCKS.

Personally, I've found the doctors in public hospitals far superior, and much more dedicated. One saved me from death after no less than 8 expensive specialists got it very, very wrong. I only consulted a junior medic, still in training, because I collapsed in a supermarket during a doctor's strike, with hospitals substantially closed except for dire emergencies. The junior medic demanded I be admitted and scheduled for urgent surgery, despite huge protests from other staff who claimed nothing had been diagnosed. Correct. Nothing had. Despite 9 years of tests. So the young trainee DEMANDED I be scheduled for emergency surgery, and got his way, and the result was they found a growth that would have killed me if not removed within months. It had been there for many years, giving me all sorts of trouble, but not one single EXPENSIVE SPECIALIST found it. (Actually, one called me a hypochondriac and told me to stop imagining illness and I'd be fine! He was OUTRAGEOUSLY costly, had astonishing credentials, believed he was BRILLIANT, and nearly caused my death by his arrogance!)

Another example - when I was a child, an expensive PRIVATE SPECIALIST who happened to be attending a function I was at declared, when I doubled over suddenly in pain, that I had appendicitis and must be operated on immediately. My mother was accused of putting my life in danger by insisting on delay until our own doctor examined me. It was NOT appendicitis at all. There was no surgery performed, and I kept my appendix until 24 years later, when they were removed during surgery on other organs.

See, OG, there are thousands of examples of HUMAN ERROR, and being RICH AND PRIVILEGED does not protect a patient any more than age, experience, training or the right to charge high fees makes any doctor immune to mistakes.

What we need in this society is a lot less prejudicial BS trying to favour the elite class, and a lot more truth and reality and focus on justice and community welfare.
Old Geezer
15th Feb 2017
12:52pm
That growth must have been real slow growing to have it for 9 years Rainey. If it had been cancer it would have killed you long before then. I also have a growth that I've had now for decades but it does me no harm. To remove it would have me wheel chair bound so I prefer to keep it and my quality of life. One only has to have a couple of scans and all sorts of odd things are found in our bodies that have caused us no trouble.
Rainey
16th Feb 2017
6:30pm
Wrong again, OG. Cancer specialists can point to thousands of cases of cancer patients living 15+ years with cancer. My partner's doctor told him if he diagnosed certain kinds of cancer, he would recommend no treatment, because you get 15 years without treatment, but much less if you have chemo.

As for my growth, yes it was slow growing and it wasn't cancerous, but the size it reached threatened my life as it was crushing other organs.

OG, you are so sanctimonious and egocentric, but really VERY VERY DUMB.
Old Geezer
17th Feb 2017
12:22pm
Gee I was dumb getting both my cancers treated then Rainey. I'd like to see anyone with an aggressive cancer last 15 years without treatment. Recently came across a lady with breast cancer that was doubling every 2 weeks. She initially refused any treatment but the size of the tumour eventually changed her mind.
Rainey
19th Feb 2017
8:43am
An uncle with prostate cancer that spread quickly to lungs, kidney and liver got 15 years of reasonably good health and only a few months of illness - with NO treatment until the last 3 months. Five relatives who had traditional treatment for early-stage cancers died within months of diagnosis, and one who had ''very early stage bowel cancer'' and was told ''no problem - it's very curable at this stage'' is now dying from complications from chemo.

I know dozens of cancer patients who used diet and natural treatments and are well over a decade later. A friend with leukemia was given less than a year to live. He took up cannabis and is well and working full time over 10 years later.

It's now being recognized globally that chemo does more harm than good and radiation therapy destroys more healthy cells than harmful. Doctors have come out and admitted that there are simple cures for cancer, but the industry makes too much money to allow them to be commercialized or publicized.
Nan Norma
13th Feb 2017
11:09am
Reading some of the salaries paid to specialist and other hospital staff I realize that no matter how much money is given to hospitals there will never be enough. I've never had health insurance and am very happy with the public hospital. At least I know they won't encourage me to have unnecessary procedures.
HDRider
13th Feb 2017
11:22am
Is it me , or is this once beautiful country going down the shit tubes? No one here has mentioned the extortionate amount of money the CEO's are being paid?
Today I awaken to new's of Sudenese Gang's racing through a FAMILY event in Melbourne.
Another article here, suprise suprise, ask's why we might think Pauline Hanson and One Nation are becoming more popular lol. I don't know, but, I reckon someone is trying to stir the possum on here lol!
There is something else not mentioned also, Mr Paul Keating once said, no one needs private medical insurance as we have medicare! If medicare is good enough for me, he said, it's good enough for everybody. I wonder how much the Footy clubs pay per annum for their player insurance alone? Let's face it, they are straining the hospital system somewhat with all the injuries they receive, and, one does notice that they are exempt any waiting list also.
I reckon it is all about money and, most of these wealthy pollies will have investments pertaining to said companies somehow!
TREBOR
13th Feb 2017
7:10pm
It's not just you, the country IS going down the hole.... when 12% of the employment now is in health care and the way to the future is money, money, money - no doubt there are many pollies with stakes in private health funds.

You can bet your ass on it....
Not Senile Yet!
13th Feb 2017
11:24am
Your kidding when you say accountable aren't you?
We have both the Large Parties being Corrupted from within...Donations....now being referred to as Deposits for policies to change in your favour and the LNP determined to Privatise everything and remove ALL Regulations by Stealth!
So when you say Accountable....your just joking right?
Or have you been living under a rock for the past 20yrs?
Batara
13th Feb 2017
11:40am
It all comes back to neoconservative ideology. Privatise all services then maximise profits and CEO salaries. The working class is just one big cupboard full of suckers.
TREBOR
13th Feb 2017
9:04pm
.. and a wallet that needs every hiding cent sucked out of it to make the country run well....
mike
13th Feb 2017
11:42am
Talking about a single room and the best of care, I had a hip replacement at the East Sydney Private, and although I requested a single room I was in a shared ward. My room mate was restless and very noisy, also he had the TV blaring from about 10.00pm to about 12.30 am. Worse he kept flicking from channel to channel continuesly and this nearly drove me mad. Then at about 4.00am he again turned on his TV and again kept flicking from channel to channel till about 6.30am. I spoke to a nurse but was told private hospitals had no control over patients use of TVs , even in shared wards. I believe this contradicts the hospitals duty of care. Even basic motels have room noise rules and pool hours. I have been told conditions are more strict in public hospitals.
Rosret
13th Feb 2017
6:55pm
Oh I so agree Mike. My father was in a shared ward. His room mates must have been deaf and the noise level was unreal. You are supposed to be in hospital to recover.
I think we need to write to the hospital and complain after being discharged.
My Mother was in a Private ward and the nurses nicked her dessert ...and a few other patient's desserts as well. I only found them in the nurses Tea room when I went looking. I wasn't there for every meal so I did wonder what was going on when I couldn't be there.
Hardworker
13th Feb 2017
12:12pm
And why shouldn't the public hospital system claim from the patient's private health insurance if they have at least SOME cover? They are doing it tough, especially with so many people being forced to pull out of private health insurance due to the cost. The Government requires all private health insurers to pay the default benefit even if you are covered by the lowest private insurance cover or choose to go to a private hospital. This is the amount the public hospital takes. I doubt whether ANY private health insurer clearly informs their customers of this. Mine kept it well hidden, especially when they upgraded their policies. There needs to be more transparency declaring what these default benefits are for different stays in hospital e.g. day surgery etc. It is very difficult to find them on the internet and they are updated on a regular basis. As the Government NEVER seems to stop the private health insurance industry from increasing their premiums by large percentages, I can only assume they are on the side of big business. There are many difficulties with opting out of private health insurance but one big one is that depending on where you live, you sometimes literally need to be on death's door to be put further up the waiting list. You never know whether you are going to be the one that "pops off" just before you reach the top of the list. In the meantime your lifestyle is suffering and you are probably taking lots of medication that you wouldn't have needed if you had been able to get help sooner. Not to mention deterioration to your body due to stress. John Howard's blackmailing of the Australian public into joining private health insurance is one of the worst crimes ever committed against our population. Sometimes individuals need to put their money towards other things first (like mortgages) if they are healthy, in order to be financially better off further down the track. Little Johnny didn't care about that, he just penalised those of us who were in a particular position in life at that time. Yes big business does create jobs but I wonder how much the private health insurance companies donate to the LNP???
Rosret
13th Feb 2017
6:59pm
Yes, if we could have a no gap service in the Public System with private insurance I am sure it would help however it would probably increase the premiums yet again.
TREBOR
13th Feb 2017
7:13pm
I would have imagined that paying for your health care would mean 'no gap' - I was wrong. Sounds pretty dumb to pay for something you still have to pay for, when the peasants get it for free, and if it's an emergency they get it straight away.

Mind you, if the medical profession were all ethical and didn't chase dollars in the American mold........
Troubadour
13th Feb 2017
12:24pm
The money paid to these CEO's is immoral - no one is worth that much !!
Have they no heart -do they not see ow their greed is causing heart ache for
so many, when the Health Fund rates keep going up and up. We have had
Private Health Insurance for 42 years, and had nowhere near back what we
paid in, but felt it necessary with a family. Now retired, we have hung on
and hung on with our payments - BUT think we have now come to crunch time
and will have to bow out - the cost is putting too much of a strain on our finances.
VALE Private Health Insurance!
roccy
13th Feb 2017
12:31pm
I am becoming more and more disillusioned with private health insurance, every time I try and use it with my choice of practitioner whether it be chiropractor, dentist and recently an eye specialist, I am always having to put my hand in my pocket to cover the difference, because they may not have an agreement with my insurance company, you pay $180 a month in premiums and you still have to pay extra, I am starting to think these Insurance companies are a scam, all practitioners should be covered by all companies, I an seriously looking at dropping my private cover, just a big rip off, we insure ourselves to cover our medical expenses, you may as well rely on the public system, as it turned out my private eye specialist was on the list of consultants at the public hospital eye clinic that the optometrist sent me to have my eye checked out after the sight in my eye got worst after my operation by this eye specialist, what a joke. grrrrrrr
Curious
13th Feb 2017
12:35pm
When I started work back in the late 1960's, health insurance was a fund established to service its members and for their benefits. The healthy younger generation gladly shouldered the senior generation. Since then all levels of governments believes that private enterprises have a better measure of efficiency and effectiveness through the bottom line. Now we all know, profitability and dividends to shareholders have eaten into household budget with no compensation for inefficiency and ineffectiveness. It proves that not all private enterprises can be a good measure for public services to the community and its members. All governments need to think again!
KSS
13th Feb 2017
1:21pm
We also have fewer "healthy younger generation [to] shoulder the [growing] senior generation'. Over the last 50 years there have been enormous advances in medical practices that now everyone takes for granted (IVF, cardic surgery, transplants, neo-natal survival to name just a few) and expects to have access to. Yet no-one wants to pay for it
TREBOR
13th Feb 2017
5:15pm
Yeah - but we oldies still pay GST and other taxes on purchases. It's not as if we aren't (wait for it) lifting OUR load.... STILL.
TREBOR
13th Feb 2017
5:18pm
When you discuss neo-natal and lower infant mortality - you are simultaneously saying that ................... GIVEN A FAIR SHOT AT LIFE ... those kids will become the 'next generation' to carry the older one.

Trouble is - those kids who now make it are not going to get even a fair shot at a job that will pay taxes etc, and thus engage in economic activity, and create a genuinely prosperous nation instead of one that prospers the well-off only, and the rest be damned.

Most will grow up into fierce competition for part-time casuals - I have three grand-kids and have no desire to see any end up as borderline social security refugees, or, heaven forbid, selling themselves to earn a living.

Prosperity For all NOW!
TREBOR
14th Feb 2017
2:04am
May I expand that just a little bit more.

If those kids cannot grow up into a meaningful occupation/career or whatever - how then is the 'burden' of increasing health care placed on the oldies? If those kids themselves do not attain something of value in their lives, and become a burden on the social security system (not their fault, BTW), HOW are they to ever generate the genuine 'wealth' and 'prosperity of the nation' that will ALLOW them to do as we did - support those in need?

They simply cannot support those in need when they are in desperate need of supporting themselves.

So, without genuine opportunity - the only future, if you are not 'rich', is that you will be either unemployed in any meaningful sense, or you will be an aged person needing sustenance after you've provided it for others all your life.

If you can't see what is wrong with this picture, I have no time for you, and since I am on the verge of standing for the next election - if I don't get your vote, I frankly don't give a damn, Scarlett.

I will tell you again - privatisation and the 'corporatisation' "model"- and I include in that the 'global economy' "model" - do not work - all they do is gather profit for those on the inside, and do nothing for the rest of society, or for the economy as a whole.

As such, they are not viable policies for a NATION that does Right by its people, ALL of them.
TREBOR
14th Feb 2017
2:09am
Sorry - have to add (unlike an academic I don't work on this at full pay for three years before publishing my 'dissertation') - the 'health care' component of the National Economy (like the social security component) is but ONE of the areas of government spending of revenue - it is NOT the ONLY one ... and the same as the 'social security burden on future generations', it can be resolved by looking at government expenditure and revenue capture OVERALL - and not in isolation as some flagship in some benighted ideology.

If governments here are serious about controlling their revenue and expenditure - they need to concentrate on a far wider range of issues than those that are dictated to them by their party and their donors, who essentially are paying for future service by donating.

... and they need to forget about ideologically bound 'commissions of audit', and get on with the job!
Sundays
13th Feb 2017
2:18pm
I've been researching this very issue. Public hospitals provide great care and nursing staff are top class. some top surgeons work in both the private and public system, they have 24hour X-rays, blood tests etc. Friend with breast cancer received first rate treatment. However, there can be long wait lists for elective surgery and this can be a very painful issue. I wouldn't join a Health fund if I was young and healthy but will stay in as I will need a knee operation in the next few years. Extras however are not cst effective and I'll be dropping them
looney
13th Feb 2017
3:09pm
Due to pension cuts a lot of long term health insurance holders have to pull out, the money is just not there. Many thanks Mr Tumbull your days are numbered.Nothing left to sell the farm is gone, what do you do now Mr Tumbull.
Old Geezer
13th Feb 2017
3:17pm
Rubbish long term health insurance holders still have heaps of capital to spend so why not protect your most important asset your health?
TREBOR
13th Feb 2017
9:06pm
OG - you seem to think that pensioners forego some expenses because they are greedy or something... they forego what they can't afford because.... wait for it.... they can't afford it.
Bonny
14th Feb 2017
8:19am
If only people would spend their capital life would have so more opportunities.
TREBOR
14th Feb 2017
10:07am
So only the rich are entitled to pass on their capital to their descendants, Bonny? All the others should spend it up and forego that basic drive of humanity - to create a better world for their descendants - and should just blow it away and ensure a totally divided society unto eternity?

Maybe we should force all the fat cats to spend their capital for the good of the country - after all - it came from the best of the country - now they can give back in retirement.
Bonny
15th Feb 2017
7:20am
Trebor the rich tap into the third tier of hospital and medical care that is only available to those who pay for thier care. Yes I have used it in the past and the treatment i got was something most people only dream about with the best of everything. Yes it cost a lot of money but the treatment I needed was not available elsewhere.

The rich also pay for thier own retirement so their descenants actually miss out on a lot more in monetary terms than the majority of the population. This is all at no cost to the taxpayer as they don't tap into the welfare system. So your fat cats do give back much more in retirement than the majority of the population.
Rainey
19th Feb 2017
8:53am
Oh you do dream on, Bonny!!!! The rich are LEACHES who bleed society dry dodging tax at every turn, exploiting battling workers, and using far more resources than they pay for.

The battlers pay for everything, get zero or close to zero tax breaks, work their guts out for far less than their labour is worth, and are then insulted and abused by the stinking self-opinionated lying rich for asking for basic sustenance in old age.

Get real! Fat cats give NOTHING back. They TAKE TAKE TAKE TAKE TAKE and TAKE MORE. Superannuation tax concessions cost the nation more than the aged pension, and 80% of them go to the wealthy. And those concessions are just the start. Then there's negative gearing, capital gains tax concessions, grey area business deductions, off-shore transactions... it goes on an on and on.

Please don't treat us like idiots. We may not be as wealthy and privileged as you, but we are not stupid.

But yes, the rich do tap into that ''third tier'', and what a DISGRACEFUL society, that quality health care is restricted to the rich and privileged. The rich should be deeply ashamed of their arrogance and selfishness, not boasting about it.
Old Man
13th Feb 2017
3:48pm
There are many problems with private health care. If you pay health insurance, you are eligible for private hospitals and that is where this story really begins. A replacement knee (just the knee, not the operation) in the public system is about $1100 but the same replacement knee cost is about $6400 if done in a private hospital. Same manufacturer, why the difference in cost? If you are in a private hospital and an emergency arises, chances are you will be taken to a public hospital as private hospitals don't all have the same equipment. If you are admitted to a public hospital in an emergency and pay health insurance, you will be treated as a private patient. Sadly, the only difference will be the cost to you as you won't get any different treatment or accommodation than a public patient.

All of this, plus the rest that others will add, increases up the cost of health insurance premiums. I also wonder why health insurers feel the need to spend $millions sponsoring sporting teams when those funds could be better used keeping premiums lower. Some people are very quick to demand a Royal Commission into everything and whilst I don't think it has reached that stage yet, we need a high level inquiry at least to address some of the anomalies.
Old Geezer
13th Feb 2017
3:55pm
Wrong if you get taken to a public hospital you don't automatically be admitted as a private patient. You get asked if you would like to be treated as a private patient and then you ask that an excess be waived and that there be no out of pocket expenses. If they don't agree you stay a public patient. However I haven't had them not agree as yet to my requests.
Old Man
13th Feb 2017
7:50pm
You may be right OG, you sometimes are, but you have missed the point once more. If I am taken to a public hospital because of an emergency I should not have to declare whether or not I'm in a health fund. Even if they waive the gap, the health fund is still charged for my stay which is a cost that should not be made. It's these extra charges that are driving health care costs up hence the rise in premiums.
Bonny
14th Feb 2017
8:23am
No Old Man you have to sign a form so that a public hospital can bill you health fund. It is not automatic. Years ago I had surgery under the public system and all I'll say never again.
Rainey
14th Feb 2017
4:10pm
I was taken to public hospital a few years ago and admitted as a private patient WITHOUT consultation, and ended up with a whopping bill that should never have arisen, OG. The world is NOT the perfect place you would like us all to believe, and your propaganda is really sickening. Why don't you get a life! Most of us are honest enough to recognize what's wrong in the REAL WORLD and want to work for improvements.
Nan Norma
14th Feb 2017
4:21pm
I think OG has his own agenda. I sometimes wonder if he isn't a politician.
Old Geezer
14th Feb 2017
5:29pm
What rubbish Rainey as someone has to sign a form so they can bill your health fund.

No I don't have my own agenda but I do know how the system works.

Although today I got caught myself as they had put in paid parking at the hospital and I didn't have any cash. Receptionist found a couple of dollars for my parking so I'll have to remember to take some money with me next time. It's ages since I used cash.
Rainey
15th Feb 2017
9:00am
WRONG, OG. They didn't bill my health fund. They handed me a bill and told me I could claim AFTER I paid it.

You only THINK you know, but your arrogance is making you look like a total fool. You are wrong nearly all the time, and your fairy stories are as absurd as claims of green pigs flying over the moon.
Old Geezer
15th Feb 2017
10:27am
If they had given me a bill that I didn't authorise I know what I would have done with it and it was certainly not pay it or hand it on to my health fund. Only a fool or someone ignorant would take it.
Rainey
16th Feb 2017
6:35pm
Or someone who was treated in an emergency - regardless of the circumstances - and is threatened with a debt collector if they don't pay for the treatment they received. Not ignorant, OG. HONEST.
capricorn
13th Feb 2017
6:20pm
I got a referral from a urologist for a prostate MRI and it cost me $450. Was told that there is NO medicare rebate for this item and my private does not cover it either. The specialist fees keep on going up and up. He has just bought a new Ferrari(Bloody show off!) Meanwhile our private health funds increase more than CPI. What a joke!
TREBOR
13th Feb 2017
7:16pm
Captive audience in the Stalin mold - take it or you die, Comrade....

I am amazed that such 'human beings' that are so selfish and self-centred and 'entitled' can exist.
Bonny
14th Feb 2017
8:26am
There are looking s of better options available for those who are prepared to pay. MRIs are one. There are also some very good bone and other scans that are not covered by Medicare but are useful for targeted treatment. Open your minds and protect your most valuable asset. Your health.
TREBOR
14th Feb 2017
10:09am
... and the lady who spent her last fifteen years of working life unemployed or in a part-time casual after divorce and a massive loss caused by poor managers of her funds .... reaches into her handbag, draws out her purse... and counts the coins.....

Only twenty-six years more and I can afford that scan....

Some of you need to get down in the dirt for a while, methinks....
looney
13th Feb 2017
6:30pm
Please stop talking rubbish you are a pain in the ass, see if you can claim that on Medicare. O.G.
Old Geezer
14th Feb 2017
5:12pm
Yes I believe you can claim a pain in the ass on Medicare why Looney have you had trouble doing so?
maxchugg
13th Feb 2017
8:15pm
The government has the mentality of lemmings. As premiums rise above the rate of inflation it is inevitable that health insurance will become unaffordable for anyone other than people on the salaries of people such as the the chief executives of Australia Post.
TREBOR
13th Feb 2017
9:02pm
What utter nonsense his salary and position are - you could employ a Postmaster General for less than a tenth of that..... and get better and more dedicated service.

In my partial auto-bio I lambast the company I used to work for, for trying to expand their very select transport market and take on the other guys who don't pay full rates etc, while we worked on an agreement that stipulated Award hourly rate etc.

It seems to me that by taking on the role of courier, Aust Post has virtually killed itself - expanded beyond its capacity to compete and closing down its select market.

I could be wrong.... I know people don't send so many letters these days, but still....
Old Geezer
14th Feb 2017
5:35pm
I had to send a letter the other day and had to put two stamps on it because I only had 70c stamps and I looked up postage and it is now a dollar to post a letter. I can't remember the last time I had to post a letter. Everything I do now is sent electronically and it is so much easier.
Migrant
14th Feb 2017
10:12am
I am a believer in " freedom with publicity" and I would support the publication of the applications in full. Including salaries as for public companies.
Migrant
Migrant
14th Feb 2017
10:22am
I would like to add that the system of level premiums regardless of age, with a hidden respreading of premiums by the insurers to average out their incomes, is flawed.
A respreading of premiums by age now takes place, because the % increase allowed by the Minister is not applied evenly over all insured lives , but is applied selectively to load the premiums for older lives. My premium increases have been 11.2%, 16.8% and 9.2% over the past three years, for top hospital with no excess.
Migrant
Old Geezer
14th Feb 2017
5:31pm
I pay no more than other much younger members in my family for health insurance.
Rainey
15th Feb 2017
8:43am
The penalty for not having been able to afford insurance at some point in life is also absurd. Why would a government that wants to encourage private health insurance lock out hundreds of thousands who might want it just because they suffered hardship at some point and had to opt out - probably reluctantly - for a period?
Old Geezer
15th Feb 2017
10:25am
Rainey that is why we have Medicare.
Rainey
16th Feb 2017
6:32pm
Medicare does nothing for someone wanting private insurance, OG. The penalty for being unable to afford insurance during a tough period is that you are locked out for life, and that is STUPID on the part of a government that wants people to insure privately.
Old Geezer
17th Feb 2017
12:16pm
Those who stay in private health insurance should be rewarded just like you get rewarded if you stay in any other insurance.
Rainey
19th Feb 2017
8:34am
Yep, just keep handing out to the rich and bugger the poor. Let them suffer. Decent medical care is just another luxury the poor don't deserve to enjoy. Your attitude is SICK, OG.
Rainey
19th Feb 2017
8:47am
Luckily, at this point in time, public hospitals are excellent - far better than a lot of private. And bulk-billing doctors are often more diligent and caring than the money-hungry leaches who demand high fees. Sadly, that situation is changing fast with the pressure being placed on the public system because of soaring health insurance premiums and ridiculous ''gap'' costs to cover extortionate charges and disgusting profiteering by health service providers and insurers.

The problem is simply GREED, and we won't solve anything until we find a way to deal with it. Obscene and totally unjustified salaries to health insurance fund CEOs are just one indication of the extent of it.
Rainey
14th Feb 2017
3:44pm
I had no private cover for years and I received better care than many with private cover, but eventually I did take up private health insurance when I started to have some health issues that threatened to be costly. What a mistake! The premiums were not nearly as problematical as the ''gap'' costs, and the fact that the level of care in private hospitals was poor compared to public.

I had one operation in a private hospital at a gap cost of $4000 and had to have it again a year later because it was botched. Went public on the second round. Brilliant care, and no cost at all. I cancelled our insurance after that, and I'm very glad I did.

Rushed to hospital with pneumonia recently while on a trip interstate. As a public patient, I had a private room, the best medical team imaginable, and they even served my partner meals so I had uninterrupted company all day.

I would not consider private insurance ever again, and I'm very glad I'm not subsidizing the obscene and disgustingly excessive salaries to greedy CEOs. Personally, I'd like to see the prices rise enough that the funds would lose half their members and go broke. But in the meantime, I think it's past time for the insured and shareholders alike to demand that funds show some respect for the community and operate ethically, including slashing CEO salaries to no more than $300,000 a year - which is MORE THAN ENOUGH BY ANY STANDARD to recruit COMPETENT AND ETHICAL managers. In my experience, those who take excessive salaries are NOT competent, but just greedy egomaniacs with neither conscience nor care for the people they are paid to serve.
Old Geezer
14th Feb 2017
5:09pm
Rainey you crack me up as I haven't met anyone as yet who actually eats the food in public hospitals.
Nan Norma
14th Feb 2017
8:52pm
OG. Give me the public hospital food anytime. And I've seem the private food. Service is terrible. No thanks.
Old Geezer
14th Feb 2017
11:38pm
Oh dear things are definitely bad when you actually eat public hospital food. You can have mine too.
TREBOR
14th Feb 2017
11:55pm
Had the ex in hospital 500 miles away - she begged me to come down early so she could get out and get some food.... at lunch the choice was sandwiches or a pie - hot meals are 'cooked' in Wollongong and then travel 4 hours to get there kept warm along the way .... yum, yum - rubber roast beef... soggy veg...

I'm surprised that the Salvos or someone don't come in and offer to go get Chinese for the patients....
Bonny
15th Feb 2017
7:23am
There is a phone number you can ring to have food delived at my nearest major public hospital.
Rainey
15th Feb 2017
7:41am
The last public hospital I was in, the food was excellent. My partner ate it in preference to going out and buying food. (The care was also first class. Absolutely NOTHING to fault.)

The last private hospital I was in, the food was CRAP. Not even edible. And the standard of care was appalling.

The old age home a friend was planning to go into was outrageously costly, but transported food 200 kms and served a single choice meal reheated and disgusting. Another, that charged less, cooked everything fresh on site and offered a choice of three different meals, all of which were excellent.

Quality varies dramatically according to management and staff competence, but quality is NOT determined by whether the establishment is public or private.

Only snobs falsely claim that everything is about how much you can afford to pay. It certainly isn't. The highest paid employees are often incompetent egomaniacs. (Just look at the pay to CEOs of health insurance funds that have to raise their prices to unaffordable levels! Badly managed, obviously, by overpaid egomaniacs!)

You DO NOT get what you pay for in this world. Lots of businesses selling at lower prices offer far superior value. When you pay dearly, you usually get what some inflated-ego a...hole THINKS he's worth (but isn't!), and when you pay less, you often get what an honest, hard worker KNOWS (based on customer feedback) his service is REALLY worth.

Give me a public hospital any day. The private hospital is only out to rip you off to boost profits as high as possible. Their bottom line matters - not your recovery. (And if, in some public hospitals, the food isn't great, at least I'm not paying an arm and a leg for the crap, and I can always have someone bring me something nicer. Besides, if you are really ill, you probably don't care what you eat - or don't want to eat at all!)
Old Geezer
15th Feb 2017
12:26pm
You were lucky then Rainey as I'm yet to be in a public hospital where the food good enough to eat.
Liz
17th Feb 2017
10:31am
Chief executives or anyone for that matter is not worth these excessive wages. With the rate these are increasing tells me thats the reason for premium increases every year.
I wish my pension increased at the same rate but it doesn't but I still have to find the extra funds to pay for the increase.


Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

  • Receive our daily enewsletter
  • Enter competitions
  • Comment on articles

you might also be interested in...

Retirement Planning

When retirement planning becomes life planning it is a challenging, fun and fulfilling task.

Age pension explained

Anne explains whether you will qualify for an Age Pension and simplifies some of the more complex scenarios you may encounter.

Cruising

Got the travel bug or need a break? Take a look at our latest Seniors travel discounts and deals.

Meal Ideas

Be inspired by our easy meal ideas. Search through hundreds of recipes to find the perfect one for any occasion.

Trivia

Have some fun and keep your mind active with our Daily Crossword, Trivia, Word Search and Suduku Games.