The Turnbull Government is making private health insurance easier to understand and more affordable with the release of a new classification system for every policy.
In particular this new system will improve policy coverage for women, including gynaecological services, ovarian and breast cancer treatment and breast reconstruction.
From April 1 2019 all of the existing 70,000 private health insurance policies will be categorised into a four tier system – Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic.
The new changes will explain to consumers exactly what is covered in a policy and what is not, in the form of one clear page of information.
This is a no surprises approach that will for the first time provide clearer information to consumers.
Importantly these reforms will not increase prices for consumers. In particular this includes no change in the cost of pregnancy cover.
In fact our reforms will make insurance more affordable, with insurers now able to discount hospital insurance premiums for 18 to 29 year olds by up to 10 per cent. The discount will phase out after people turn 40.
Our changes are focused on helping consumers understand what is on offer, giving them the opportunity to shop around for the best policy that suits their needs, at the best price.
Standard clinical categories will be mandated, as well as standard terms for medical treatments.
The Basic and Bronze cover levels are affordable options supporting choice for millions of Australians accessing key health services. Basic policies are especially valued by regional and rural patients.
Silver and Gold polices provide more comprehensive cover for Australians – providing peace of mind for services that are needed at different stages of life
Insurers will also be able to offer cover for clinical categories in addition to those listed as the minimum requirements for the Silver, Bronze, Basic product tiers, in which case the products may be named [Silver, Bronze, Basic] Plus (+).
For the first time I am proud to mandate vital support for women under the Silver and Bronze categories, which will include gynaecological services, ovarian and breast cancer treatment and breast reconstruction.
This will support thousands of Australian women through cancer diagnosis, treatment and recuperation.
Consumers should expect to see new insurance policies categorised under this new system by early 2019 from insurance companies.
The changes build on our reforms to private health insurance, including free upgrades to mental health cover, discounts for Australians under 30 years or age and improved travel and accommodation for Australians living in rural and regional Australia.
This compares with Labor’s plan that will drive up the price of premiums by 16 per cent by ripping the rebate off lower cost policies.
Modelling by Deloitte shows Labor’s plan to scrap lower-cost policies would result in a 16 per cent increase in private health insurance premiums for millions of Australians.
Furthermore, a collapse in the private health insurance sector would see public hospital waiting times blow out.
The Turnbull Government is committed to supporting the 13 million Australians that have taken out private health insurance – and that’s why we’re investing around $6.4 billion a year in the rebate.
Our package of real reforms has delivered the lowest annual premium change in 17 years, far lower than every year under the Rudd and Gillard governments.
We understand every single dollar matters, that’s why our policies are focused on lower premiums and a system which is easier to understand.
And although more Australians are benefiting from record bulk-billing figures than ever before, we must continue to drive down the cost of private health insurance and address out-of-pocket costs.
A new expert committee chaired by the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, is working hard and investigating out-of-pocket costs and options to ensure consumers are better informed of fees before agreeing to treatment.
We’re committed to private health insurance. Bill Shorten just wants to dismantle it and deprive Australians of the medical treatment they want and deserve.