ADA calls for inquiry into private health insurance


private health insurers

The Australian Dental Association has joined ranks with Choice, the National Rural Health Alliance and other key groups in calling for a Productivity Commission inquiry into private health insurance.

In a letter issued last week to all members of parliament, they wrote that 70 per cent of consumers believe that the policies they hold are poor value for money.

Previously the ADA has said that health insurance policies which provide extras cover are simply not delivering value for money for consumers, and in some cases, are disadvantaging many policyholders who want to see a practitioner of their choice.

Newly appointed ADA president Dr Carmelo Bonanno stated that insurers need to stop blaming health practitioners for the rising cost of policies and poor rebates.

“Our surveys show that the fees charged by dentists are not the problem. Health insurance premiums have increased at three times the rate of dental fees and nearly 2.5 times wage growth.

“Recent figures from the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority’s ‘Operations of Private Health Insurers Annual Report 2017-18’ clearly demonstrate the profits that are being made by some health funds,” Dr Bonanno said.

The ADA’s analysis of the report shows that returns for health insurers are high compared to most other companies. The industry-wide data indicates a return on equity of 16.6 per cent—higher than even the major banks who average around 12 per cent.

“These returns are being driven by the big three ‘for-profit’ health funds with the APRA data showing returns of around 30 per cent for Medibank Private and nib and over 60 per cent for BUPA,” Dr Bonanno said.

“Health funds exist to do exactly what their name suggests—fund health. It’s time for them to focus on this instead of their profits.”

Based on a media release sourced from the ADA website.

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  1. I am a Physio and ‘lost’ my multi-award winning service of 14 years to aggressive health insurance tactics, this same insurance company was encouraging the switching of codes with just one business- up to 1,400 appointments a week! The motive- rather than $150 claiming limit per year, services were switched to $1,200 per year.
    INSURANCE has sadly taken over health in many areas of the private system.
    Costs simply come down to supply and demand dynamics.
    Insurance subsidises costs, therefore pushing up prices. No insurance rebates then prices remain stable in a “normal’ market dynamic.
    Also insurance has an unsavoury flavour. many occurrences of misconduct type activities eg encouraging swapping codes for claims, withholding vital information to practitioners, CEO’s providing false information to the PHIO. The PHIO not doing anything (that I know of) about code swapping for patients claims. As a Practitioner, I have serious concerns about how the system is being managed.
    Profit over patients is indeed an insidious issue within the insurance system of health.
    Please let me know if you have any information on any cases o switching of code numbers for claims.
    Monte 0410675545


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