Mounting cost of private health cover in the spotlight

Are baby boomers’ concerns about private health cover finally being heard?

healthcare

The growing voice of an ageing Australia with a keen eye on the cost of healthcare may have cause for cautious optimism on several fronts. One was the announcement that a returned Coalition Government would establish an official website where consumers could check the out-of-pocket costs levied by private medical specialists. The other is an Opposition vow to review the private health insurance sector in support of a promise to cap premium increases at two per cent for the first two years of a Labor government.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced late last year that health insurance premiums would increase by an average of 3.25 per cent from 1 April. That’s down from a recent peak of 6.2 per cent in 2014. But according to a poll of YourLifeChoices members – many of them hanging on grimly to their private cover – still challenging.

Mr Hunt says a single person will typically pay an extra $59.28 per year on average for his or her annual premium of about $2452, while a family will pay $122 more on an annual bill of $4183.

Australia’s largest private health fund, Medibank, said in a submission to Labor’s planned Productivity Commission review – ahead of a federal election expected in May – that meaningful reform was dependent on a wide-ranging review of healthcare costs.

Medibank chief executive Craig Drummond told The Australian that a review that concentrated on private health insurance in isolation from the broader private healthcare system would be “fundamentally flawed” and “incapable of examining the issues and reforms necessary for sustainably lower premium increases in the long term”.

He said a key component of the reform centred on transparency, especially in out-of-pocket costs.

“The number of customers who say that these are a key reason for dropping their private health insurance has more than tripled over the past five years,” he said.

In a 33-page submission, Medibank said Labor’s proposed review should be widened to canvas the financial sustainability of private healthcare and private health insurance, the demand and financial pressures on the private and public health systems and Labor’s two per cent cap policy. It also said any negative change to the private health insurance rebate could have a very harmful effect on affordability.

Medibank estimates that if the rebate is abolished, about a quarter of its customers could drop their insurance, pushing another 900,000 people into the public health system.

On the subject of specialist fees, the Consumer health Forum (CHF) has welcomed the announcement of plans for an official website that discloses fees.

Chief executive Leanne Wells said: “We need more transparency and price disclosure as a means of at least bringing high fees to the notice of consumers, enabling them to compare and contrast fees where possible. We have previously called for an authoritative website disclosing individual specialist fees for some years and it is good to see the (Ministerial Advisory) committee has also recommended this measure.

“The challenge now will be to ensure that once it is introduced after consultation with consumers and doctors that all specialists use it. We need ways to ensure participation and we expect doctors to cooperate and their professional associations and colleges to lead in the public interest.”

Health Insurance Comparison says that not all funds will pass on the full 3.25 per cent rate rise and urges consumers to shop around. It also warns policy-holders to ensure they do not fall victim to common traps such as staying on an outdated policy, being talked into a higher level of cover and fund loyalty incentives.

Is the cost of private health insurance an ongoing concern for you? Would you welcome a website that lists specialists’ fees?

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    COMMENTS

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    MICK
    5th Mar 2019
    10:25am
    The ongoing debate. Most people have dropped their health insurance after decades of flushing their money down the drain.
    My prediction is the private health insurance industry will implode. The belief you can increase your fees by 6% pa decade in and decade out flies in the face of retirees having the propensity to pay. I won't be selling my house for an extra year of life and will continue to rely on the Medicare safety net. It it means I live a slightly shorter life then so be it. Nobody can put that off forever and I'd rather have a safety net for my children and their children rather than exchange my health care needs, f they occur, for my house. That's the stuff of narcissistic folk without empathy.
    Paddington
    5th Mar 2019
    11:55am
    Mick, do you use the public system only or can you afford to pay? Why would you need to sell your home? Do you live in an area where it is possible to get immediate help for non life threatening conditions like knee replacements?
    I am reluctant to get rid of our cover for fear of something we have no money for but would have to wait many years in agony.
    The extras cover our dental and glasses etc so feel that is good value.
    We are unable so far to find one that is cheaper with equal cover.
    MICK
    5th Mar 2019
    12:50pm
    We use the public system but can afford the private system. We just see the private system as a total rip which is allowed to plunder people because government do not say 'no' to the increases they get every year. Of course you might want to ponder what I often talk about on these pages: political donations = 'we pay you to leave us alone and give us legislation so that we can overcharge our customers'.

    I hear what you are saying about waiting in the public system but unless you have a painful ailment like joint failure you'd be far better off putting away the money you donate to health funds into a bank account and then use them as required. You'll even get a tax deduction if you have larger bills.
    Paddington
    5th Mar 2019
    1:12pm
    Oh Mick we could never manage that! We have a $1000 excess which is about our limit.
    We may get to a point that we have to downgrade our cover but we need things like cataracts and knee replacements covered so that is risky as well.
    I don’t know how many pensioners are managing to pay private cover?
    Anyone else on here who are full pensioners still managing to pay private cover?
    Old Geezer
    5th Mar 2019
    10:51am
    Health Insurance so cheap that's its worth every penny. I don't have to wait and I get a lot more back each year than it costs me.
    john
    5th Mar 2019
    11:49am
    Just that comment about what you give out and what you get back, makes me know that what I think about your commentaries are correct OG.
    YOUR CONTINUED SELF SATISFACTION , AND THE FACT THAT YOU SAY YOU GET BACK MORE THAN YOU PAY FOR HEALTH SERVICES WELL SIR , YOU ARE TELLING PORKIES OR YOU ARE LIVING IN ANOTHER COUNTRY TO ME!
    Or you are a just anti everyone else, but you are not quite real, I think.
    Anonymous
    5th Mar 2019
    11:50am
    Agree OG

    You never know when you will need it . $2k a year is cheap for top class medical care on demand
    Paddington
    5th Mar 2019
    11:59am
    L, you pay only 2 k for both hospital and extras but that is for one not a couple or family?
    We are in a different league from you as pensioners but very reluctant to cancel ours at this time of our lives.
    Maybe we will cut corners elsewhere as this is so important for peace of mind when you have no money to fall back on.
    It is possible to check beforehand not to get caught out with out of pocket and only go where you are fully covered.
    Old Geezer
    5th Mar 2019
    12:19pm
    Yes it is the best $2000 I spend each year. Just one trip to hospital costs more than twice that. $1000 a year in dental checkups. new glasses, ambulance cover, travel allowance, excess prescription fees etc.
    MICK
    5th Mar 2019
    12:54pm
    OG - you and your troll mates are full of it. Its only the very few who are ahead and that's before you even add on the out of pocket costs. After that I doubt anyone would be ahead.
    You, the private health system and your government sponsor are selling the dream, not the reality. You're fooling nobody who reads your comments regularly.
    Old Geezer
    5th Mar 2019
    1:10pm
    Mick I am way ahead every year.
    Old Geezer
    5th Mar 2019
    1:12pm
    Mick I have had cancer twice so there is over $100,000 just to start. That's 50 years premiums at $2000 a year.
    MICK
    5th Mar 2019
    1:54pm
    So the public system does not treat cancer?
    That aside not everybody has cancer OG. You'd be one of the very few ahead and most healthy oldies would lose a lot more than they would gain.
    TREBOR
    5th Mar 2019
    4:29pm
    **rolls eyes** Usual Suspect comments creating gales of laughter...
    patti
    5th Mar 2019
    4:49pm
    You may think it cheap, OG, but I cannot afford hospital cover. I do have extras cover but even that is becoming too expensive. When the only income is a single age pension, there is nothing left over for discretionary spending. And I'm not sure where I would find the $6000+ gap I would need for my knee replacement. So I wait years in the public health system, but that's the way it is.
    Rosscoe
    5th Mar 2019
    10:57am
    It might be cheap for you, OG! Successive governments have allowed the health funds get away with ripping off the Australian population. This really needs a Royal Commission to identify the vultures in the health system.
    MICK
    5th Mar 2019
    12:54pm
    Indeed they have. Wasted on LNP trolls like OG though. They'll stick to the party script.
    Rosscoe
    5th Mar 2019
    10:57am
    It might be cheap for you, OG! Successive governments have allowed the health funds get away with ripping off the Australian population. This really needs a Royal Commission to identify the vultures in the health system.
    Paddington
    5th Mar 2019
    11:13am
    It is not going up by the quoted amount.it is going up far more than that!
    We are shopping around again. People dropping out makes it dearer for those who stay in.
    More incentives for people to stay in and young ones to begin would be helpful.
    The funds have to stay viable. Even the not for profit ones are expensive.
    The biggest deterrent to dropping out is the waiting list for things like knee replacements. Accidents and heart or stroke incidents are covered by the public system. A relative had a stroke recently and was cared for very well in the public system but has chosen to retain her private cover because of the unknown possibilities of so called non life threatening issues like knee or hip and the waiting list that amounts to years. Some wait many years in pain.
    Old Geezer
    5th Mar 2019
    11:18am
    You get treated better in public hospitals with private insurance too. I usually have a specialist who I can choose and their team treating me but the public patient in the next bed just gets a registrar.
    Paddington
    5th Mar 2019
    12:04pm
    OG, good to know!
    MICK
    5th Mar 2019
    12:56pm
    Public hospitals are far better than private ones and YOU PAY NOTHING. The advertising is just spin. Ask people who have been there done that and find they have a large bill for their stay in hospital. They normally leave after that.
    KB
    5th Mar 2019
    1:08pm
    Paddington you attend a public hospital anyway for medical issues like strokes and heart attacks No for profit funds have put up their premiums by 6.00 . Had I stayed with my old fund then I would have paid a higher premium. Well I guess now I am back to where I originally started. Your relation is right to keep on health insurance. Without health insurance my hip replacement would cost $20 000 in a private hospital I am lucky because my surgeon keeps the costs to minimum Still have to pay out of pocket expenses such as the anaesthetist . Fees of doctors should be made public and they should not charge differently Had previous hip operation and the other doctor charged 456.00. for the visit and through Medicare 100 rebate. There are times when you have no choice at all particularly when it comes to the man putting you to sleep. If you have a pensioner card then that should take care of things like blood tests and x-rays
    KB
    5th Mar 2019
    1:08pm
    Paddington you attend a public hospital anyway for medical issues like strokes and heart attacks No for profit funds have put up their premiums by 6.00 . Had I stayed with my old fund then I would have paid a higher premium. Well I guess now I am back to where I originally started. Your relation is right to keep on health insurance. Without health insurance my hip replacement would cost $20 000 in a private hospital I am lucky because my surgeon keeps the costs to minimum Still have to pay out of pocket expenses such as the anaesthetist . Fees of doctors should be made public and they should not charge differently Had previous hip operation and the other doctor charged 456.00. for the visit and through Medicare 100 rebate. There are times when you have no choice at all particularly when it comes to the man putting you to sleep. If you have a pensioner card then that should take care of things like blood tests and x-rays
    chrissie
    5th Mar 2019
    11:29am
    Our health insurance has gone up $163 for the coming year. Not the top hospital but also extras .
    You can always ring specialiets to see if they support the No Gap scheme and if not shop around for one who does. This is easy in a larger area but wouldnt probably be possible out in the sticks.
    Also my health fund pays for everything done in a private hospital.
    Specialists, if you need to see them for anything charge enormous fees. For instance I recently visited an ear nose and throat one. It was over $400 for just over 10 mins. I think I got back about 150 from Medicare. However, they have studied for years and its good to know you have nothing wrong with you.
    Paddington
    5th Mar 2019
    12:01pm
    Gone up by or to $163?
    john
    5th Mar 2019
    12:13pm
    That does not change the fact that you may be overcharged and that your health fund underpays for your circumstance, they make millions and millions of dollars, it needs controlling much better.
    Old Geezer
    5th Mar 2019
    12:20pm
    Mine will go up about $150 but I'll pay 12 months before 1st April and stay 18 months in front at the old rates.
    MICK
    5th Mar 2019
    12:58pm
    Its usually more chrissy. Just imagine how much you would have in your bank account if you saved what you would have paid to a health fund. Who'd need them as major health issues are done in public hospitals and everything else comes out of the money you saved. A win win.
    OG and his government funded troll mates can stay in private health cover. Good luck suckers.
    Old Geezer
    5th Mar 2019
    1:09pm
    I can't imagine how much less I would have in my bank account if I had paid for all my health services instead of private health insurance.
    MICK
    5th Mar 2019
    8:17pm
    OG - statistics my dear boy. 65% of all fall within one standard deviation of the average (mean). You're three standard deviations away mate. RIP.
    john
    5th Mar 2019
    11:43am
    Premiums are way too high for what you get back. Medibank have so many conditions that you barely understand what you will and won't get. The Medical profession has some answering to do as some specialists line their pockets without any one controlling how they smash the accepted price range.
    Health insurance has taken on the same character as any insurance, there are always conditions , I have paid in more much much more than I have ever received back from Medibank. They have plent of excuses but the bottom line is that they make profits out of premiums, why else do they rise and rise every year until several hundred dollars a month is becoming just about time to get out. But then like blackmailers they have you trapped in the "what If" syndrome. In fact it is simply disgraceful , because this is playing with peoples lives and health. There should be no gap at all. You pay a premium for insuring yourself against cost, how is it fair when you still have to pay extra. Its almost criminal.
    Paddington
    5th Mar 2019
    12:00pm
    Medibank are out of our price range!
    Paddington
    5th Mar 2019
    12:03pm
    http://privatehealth.gov.au
    Here you can compare and get detailed information on costs and rebates, etc.
    Chrissy L
    6th Mar 2019
    12:03pm
    I have done the research and my fund Defence Health is one of the more competitive funds and limits access to Defence Personal and their families. I have no excess and I am in Top Hospital and Top extras. I know that I could put the premiums into savings, but as a baby boomer and single pensioner, not sure it would cover what could go wrong with my health in the future, so I prefer to have some piece of mind. I just wish we could get some further relief on the premium increases each year.
    Hawkeye
    7th Mar 2019
    1:51am
    Chrissy L, I too am covered by Defence Health, and have been for many years. As you say, it is very competitive.
    But you're quite a bit out of date with who can be covered.

    Current eligibility includes almost anyone, as follows:
    - All those who have previously served in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and their partners and children
    - Anyone who works or has worked in the Department of Defence and other Defence-related departments
    - Anyone who works or has worked for a Defence supplier – a company or agency contracted to the Department of Defence, where you are or were involved in the supply of goods and services to Defence.
    - If you are the mum or dad, son or daughter, sister or brother, grandchild or ex-spouse/partner of a serving or ex-serving member of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) or of an ADF supporter (described above).

    So, if your grandfather once got paid to mow the lawn in a Defence house, or if your grandchild has changed a light globe in a Defence building, then you can sign up for Defence Health cover.
    In other words, just about anyone can.
    Chrissy L
    5th Mar 2019
    12:30pm
    I am in a "Not for Profit" health fund, my premium has increased almost 6% for the next twelve months, however, also the benefits paid have been scaled back and capped for example, dental services & more. Talk about a double whammy! How is this fair? This is another issue our upcoming candidates for the next Federal election should look in to. I wonder if our Pensions are going to increase and more concessions awarded to Pensioners to help counteract these cost of living increases?
    MICK
    5th Mar 2019
    1:00pm
    Its telling you a story. Do you really need to be in a fund and can you do better saving your money in a separate bank account for medical needs?
    Paddington
    5th Mar 2019
    2:19pm
    You are a pensioner, too, Chrissy?
    I think we are good to contribute in this way and deserve some kudos for doing so.
    What level cover do you have and with whom?
    KSS
    5th Mar 2019
    12:54pm
    Even if you are the sort of person that automatically renews insurance each year, this year it will pay to seriously look at exactly what you are paying for. Its not just the annual premium that is changing, the classification 'Bronze, Silver, Gold' will further change exactly what you are covered for. The idea that you choose what to be covered for (always a pretence in the first place) is now no longer even a feint possibility. Consider this, items such as joint replacements are being moved to the Gold category along with pregnancy! As an ageing person why would you need to be covered for pregnancy and all its attendant costs? Opting out will no longer be an option. The outcome is that it may well cost you more for even less than you are covered for now and a whole lot more if you need to upgrade to a higher classification of cover to maintain benefits you have now. All funds must use this new classification system from 1 April.
    https://www.privatehealthcareaustralia.org.au/consumers/the-new-private-health-insurance-classification-system/
    MICK
    5th Mar 2019
    1:01pm
    They're not worth it, especially for younger folk. Even older Australians in good health do not need these funds as the game is to find an out if possible.
    Old Geezer
    5th Mar 2019
    1:04pm
    Mine says I am diamond level.
    MICK
    5th Mar 2019
    1:55pm
    You ain't no diamond OG.
    Old Geezer
    5th Mar 2019
    2:06pm
    That's what my card says.
    Paddington
    5th Mar 2019
    2:16pm
    From 1/4/19 they have to state three levels only, namely, bronze, silver and gold.
    Yours will probably be described as gold then OG!
    MICK
    5th Mar 2019
    8:19pm
    We may all be missing the point Paddington. OG sounds like he is on the parliamentary health system, hence the 'diamond' scale. Pollies likely only have one scale with no GAP to pay. No wonder OG is so passionate. Can I join?
    Paddington
    5th Mar 2019
    1:21pm
    Now I am going to be attacked...
    If you can afford private health cover but choose not to but have the thousands for emergency knee replacement instead of waiting years and years for relief if pushed.
    Then why not pay something towards your free care in public hospitals if you have the money.
    People with private cover do as OG stated and we have to for the pleasure of using the emergency department.
    People dropping private health cover are not helping those struggling to stay in.
    Wealthy people using the public system are not helping the very poor waiting for a knee replacement.
    Sundays
    5th Mar 2019
    2:48pm
    Paddington, you forget we all paid the Medicare levy. In my case, more than my fair share but only went to hospital once as a public patient 47 years ago.

    Rich or poor, if you use the public system there is a waiting list unless an emergency or cancer. The waiting list is the only thing keeping us in Private Health because for some things the standard of care and 24 hour facilities in Public Hospitals is better. Between Medicare and cost of private health, I think we have fully subsidised many.

    The current system is broken because older people who have paid into health funds for 40-50 years find that now they may need health care, the cost of staying in a health fund is forcing them out.
    Paddington
    5th Mar 2019
    3:11pm
    Yes, agree, except for now we need people to stay in to keep the whole thing affordable and also as of now the public system needs some support too. We can do that by swiping our private health cards or contributing to the cost unless you are homeless and have no money whatsoever. Even pensioners could pay a small amount if using the public. You are fed and looked after so even a contribution towards that would help.
    People have money for other things that are not necessities but consider their health care should be fully covered and it can’t be.
    Sundays
    5th Mar 2019
    2:26pm
    The changes introduced by the Government force us into Gold, Silver, Bronze, Basic for Hospital cover from 1 April. If you want to be covered for items you may need as you age eg cataracts and joint replacement only Gold covers it. Also in Gold are things like IVF which older people don’t need. How does this simplify the system. Just increases the cost. Have already dropped Extras. They will force people onto the Public System
    floss
    5th Mar 2019
    2:30pm
    The whole country has become a rip off under this Fed. Gov.
    Older lady
    5th Mar 2019
    2:49pm
    I support specialist fees website. And most definitely some are greedy and some are not.
    I work in health care and I know that just because fees are high , it does not mean your getting the best specialist. In fact often it’s the opposite.
    Rosret
    5th Mar 2019
    3:01pm
    Why is health care, council rates etc allowed to increase when nothing else is going up - even bank interest rates are extraordinarily low.
    Rae
    5th Mar 2019
    3:18pm
    Three or four million extra people arriving who have not been here to pay for infrastructure and services.

    Those who have paid for decades are being expected to go without or wait.
    MICK
    5th Mar 2019
    8:21pm
    Yes Rae but don't tell the thumping hearts who are screaming to 'bring them in'. They're likely at the head of the queue complaining they are not being looked after. There is a God!
    GeorgeM
    6th Mar 2019
    12:32pm
    Because it is a cartel, and ACCC ignores it......
    Rae
    5th Mar 2019
    3:02pm
    My insurance has increased from $186.65 TO $196.70 so around $120 a year for a single almost double Hunts guess.

    What annoys me is the $42 gap to visit a GP and other gaps if I don't shop for any bulk billing.

    I'm sure a proper comprehensive public system with doctors and specialists employed by the State would be far better.

    Everyone could be levied a fee and something done about the doctor shoppers and hypochondriacs refusing to change lifestyle but wanting a magic pill to fix them.

    Most of this is wasted as I have never needed hospital and no other service ever seems to be covered although we get a glossy magazine and you can go to the gym if so inclined.
    MICK
    5th Mar 2019
    3:12pm
    The gap is precisely the problem. What you see is not what you get.
    We specialist shopped a few years ago when my wife was set upon by the local guy who said he would not treat my wife unless she went to his private hospital. It ended up a Dutch standoff so we found somebody who would. Ended up costing us nix and the (old) specialist did a fantastic job.
    The issue we have is a whole generation of bright young kids went into medicine. They should have gone into the financial sector as they do not care about anything other than maximising profits. Medicine? Just the tool of convenience and people clearly are of no consequence.
    You may need to doctor shop. If one is bad NEVER go back. We've done this twice...the second time with an Indian (can I say that) skin cancer doctor whose examination was concluded in less than a minute. No comment!
    Paddington
    5th Mar 2019
    3:17pm
    Yours has not gone up much but it is a lot for a single cover. That would be almost $400 for two which is more than we pay for gold level for hospital and extras.
    Rae
    5th Mar 2019
    3:21pm
    It's gold and for extras and covers a lot. It's just the system where you can't claim the gaps and I haven't ever used the hospital cover.
    Paddington
    5th Mar 2019
    3:48pm
    Ok, Rae, I have used the hospital for shoulder surgery, colonoscopies, 10 days in hospital with Crohns, etc. Extras used for dental, glasses and massages, etc.
    Our present cover is $306 but jumping nearly $40 which is annoying but still better than others for what we get.
    KSS
    5th Mar 2019
    4:53pm
    Rae unless you happen to live in one of the QLD trial centres catchment, no private health insurance can cover GP visits and that's by law. There were trials being done with a few GPs in QLD and one insurance company but I am not sure where that is at now. In any case to take it beyond a trial would need a change in the law.

    The only way for no gap cover of GP visits is bulk billing, or a private GP willing only to charge the medicare allowance.
    Rae
    6th Mar 2019
    7:28am
    Yes I know that KSS. There is a lot of poor legislations out there now. Hundreds of laws and rules just making wealth for businesses and ensuring times get tougher for most of the people.
    GeorgeM
    6th Mar 2019
    12:37pm
    Yes, Rae. the Gaps are the main problem, and high fees encouraged by the Doctors unions - with NO Govt control. After paying Medicare Levy and Private Insurance, there should be NO Gaps.
    KSS, laws can be changed, otherwise why do we have legislators? Sack the lot of them if they are helpless - actually, as Mick noted elsewhere, they are controlled by political donations from companies.
    Old Man
    5th Mar 2019
    3:10pm
    I know I keep banging on about this and I apologise to those who are sick of me writing it but our premium has gone up 5.98% which is higher than the "average" 3.25%. Health insurers should be required to make public all of the increases, policy by policy, rather than give out an unobtainable "average". Politicians for decades have been telling us how small the increases are by quoting the health insurers statements without doing any research. Like some others, we keep our health insurance just in case as we're not getting any younger and the knees and hips are groaning a bit.
    MICK
    5th Mar 2019
    3:14pm
    No different to many other areas where governments are players and WILL NOT REGULATE. Not as though they do not know of cannot intervene. They won't...so start looking at political donations and you'll see why.
    Agitate OM. Start a movement. That's how to fix corruption dresses up as policy.
    Old Man
    5th Mar 2019
    3:29pm
    Good idea MICK, I should start a movement or shut up and I'm too old and tired to organise anything right now. I'll just shut up and worry about the only movement that matters in an old person's life.
    MICK
    5th Mar 2019
    8:12pm
    Speak up. That's your democratic right/responsibility. You notice I stick m y head up frequently....knowing full well that it is going to be shot at. Such is life but if genuine people discuss topics then we all end up around the middle and at the facts rather than the BS put out there to con us. Never too old for that. Please keep posting if you can be honest and sincere. Cheers.
    TREBOR
    5th Mar 2019
    4:28pm
    Ya wanna sojourn like royalty in the hospital system? Pay like royalty.... without subsidies that would better serve the public hospital system that you tie up constantly.
    Elizzy
    5th Mar 2019
    6:31pm
    The problem is not premiums, it's the GAP for GPs, surgeons, specialists and anaesthetists, oh, and physio which is now covered under Medicare at all. I'd rather pay a much higher Medicare levy and do away with private health care. Pour the money into public care for all.
    MICK
    5th Mar 2019
    8:13pm
    Not a bad idea. Of course if people did not run to the doctor every other week, including family paranoia, then we'd have a health system which was affordable and could do away with Private Health rip offs.
    Elizzy
    5th Mar 2019
    6:31pm
    The problem is not premiums, it's the GAP for GPs, surgeons, specialists and anaesthetists, oh, and physio which is now covered under Medicare at all. I'd rather pay a much higher Medicare levy and do away with private health care. Pour the money into public care for all.
    MICK
    5th Mar 2019
    8:15pm
    That's the con of private insurance. Its a trap where people think they are covered. At the end they get these huge bills. That is not insurance. Its a casino overseen by the government which is pocketing donations from this industry so that it looks the other way.
    GeorgeM
    6th Mar 2019
    12:46pm
    CEO Leanne Wells of so-called Consumers Health Forum (who elected/ appointed her? Not us Consumers!) seems rather weak and ineffective. Transparency is ESSENTIAL, however that is not the only problem, as
    a. Gaps are the main problem - there should by NO Gaps. Medicare + PHI MUST pay ALL costs.
    b. Out of Control Fees by Doctors, supported by Unions setting Fees, are another Major problem - ignored by the Govt & ACCC - no other trade is allowed to set their own fees.
    c. Medical Insurance not paying all Gaps, instead paying up to fixed limits, is another serious issue - this is NOT insurance, as YOU are taking the risk for Gaps.
    d. Govt paying a rebate is fine, but in return enforcing MAXIMUM Rate Rises is essential not limiting Average rises which are a fraud e.g. I was informed of a 5% rise this time (not 3.25%) and that is the same pattern every year. Private Insurance must not be allowed to continue to rip off consumers as they are doing now.

    BOTH Liberal & Labor are falling well short of the above needed changes. Best to vote them both OUT, as BOTH these parties are not serving the interests of the people.


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