Reimagining private health insurance

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private health insurance

As 11 million Australians consider how they will budget for increased private health insurance premiums as of this month, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) is calling on consumers to rethink the need for ‘extras’ cover and on the Government to support tax offsets for those who ‘self-insure’.

“We acknowledge that Minister Hunt has announced further amendments to the Private Health Insurance Act which will address some of the concerns around health insurance policies, however the changes do not go far enough,” ADA federal president Dr Hugo Sachs said.

“Having access to and being able to choose your provider has been the catchcry of private health insurers for years, but what insurers don’t tell you is that your choice is restricted to providers within their network. Use someone outside the network and you will receive less in rebates. This is discrimination and completely unfair no matter how you look at it.”

Discriminatory rebates, increased restrictions and exclusions on the types of treatments provided is why the ADA has asked the Federal Health Minister to consider providing tax offsets to consumers who would prefer to set up a ‘health savings account’ to cover the cost of their dental and allied health treatment.

Last year, the ADA commissioned the Centre for International Economics to explore models that would assist consumers to overcome some of the access barriers to dental and allied health care in Australia. The report, Saving for One’s Care, was released in early March 2018.

The report concludes that a health savings account presents an opportunity to overcome the limitations of general treatment cover (extras), and recommends a reward-based proactive approach to encourage Australians to save for their dental and allied health care.

“Maintaining oral health is less costly than treating disease,” Dr Sachs said. “Currently consumers lose whatever is left in the extras policy cover on 31 December each year. With a health savings account, they keep whatever they didn’t spend-and the amount grows each year.

“We need to encourage consumers to invest in prevention rather than cures. Having control of their health dollars rather than losing any unspent benefits each year will benefit everyone in the long run.”

Based on a media release sourced from the ADA website.

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