register

News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

Is government’s $6.5 billion private health insurance injection failing to ease the public system burden

Health Industry Hub | March 25, 2024 |

MedTech & Diagnostics News: With an annual injection of $6.5 billion by the government in rebates to encourage Australians to opt for private health insurance, along with an extra $6.1 billion allocated for services provided in private hospitals, concerns about the value of private health insurance continues to be raised.

Non-urgent or elective surgery has a waiting list in public hospitals. State governments manage waiting times in public hospitals directly. At the federal level, Australia has largely emphasised the role of private healthcare as the main mechanism for shifting demand away from the overburdened public hospital system.

While private patients have the advantage of more flexibility in selecting their care, whether in private hospitals or as private patients within public hospitals, and the freedom to choose attending physicians as well as access to superior amenities including private rooms, they often encounter out-of-pocket expenses. These expenses arise from insurance deductibles and gap payments, which result from disparities between what insurers cover and the fees charged by doctors.

Within the complex landscape of healthcare systems, the challenge of balancing accessibility, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness persists. Waiting times for publicly funded elective procedures emerge as a critical issue, with prolonged waits posing risks to patient well-being and satisfaction, as well as potentially increasing overall medical costs.

Supporters of the government’s approach argue that increasing private health insurance uptake could ease pressure on the public system, potentially leading to reductions in wait times for medical procedures. However, a recent study has cast doubt on this assertion.

A recent study revealed limited impact of increasing private health insurance uptake on reducing wait times in public hospitals, with a marginal decrease of 0.34 days (or 0.5%) observed on average. While the effects vary across different medical specialties and age groups, “the practical significance of this effect is limited, if not negligible”, the authors wrote.

Responding to these findings, the study’s authors advocate for a re-evaluation of healthcare policy, emphasising investment in alternative approaches.

“Our findings suggest that policy interventions targeting at increasing PHI take-up will not have meaningful effect on reducing elective surgery waiting times. Instead, the government should consider other approaches, for example, investing in innovative care delivery and funding models, strengthening community health services and community-based care, chronic disease prevention in primary care, or even purchasing services directly from private hospitals,” the authors wrote.

Policymakers are urged to address broader systemic issues. Structural reforms, including adjustments to funding and governance arrangements, are cited as essential steps in tackling the underlying challenges faced by the health system. Regional issues further complicate the landscape, with concerns ranging from health workforce shortages to the fragmentation of care and imbalances in matching healthcare capacity with regional needs.

“Alternative policies aiming at improving the efficiency of public hospitals and advancing equitable access to care should be a priority for policymakers,” the authors concluded.

In reimagining healthcare across the entire patient journey, Health Industry HubTM is the ONLY one-stop-hub bringing the diversity of Pharma, MedTech, Diagnostics & Biotech sectors together to inspire meaningful change.

The exclusive leadership and influencer podcasts and vodcasts add huge value to our breaking news coverage. The content on Health Industry Hub is copyright protected and should only be accessed under individual user licenses. Please click here to subscribe and visit T&Cs here.


News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

Government commissions review as 70% of private hospitals face financial crisis

Government commissions review as 70% of private hospitals face financial crisis

Health Industry Hub | June 14, 2024 |

MedTech & Diagnostics News: Despite playing a crucial role in providing acute care and surgical services, a staggering 70% of […]

More


News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Pharmacy Guild echoes ACCC red flags over Chemist Warehouse-Sigma deal

Pharmacy Guild echoes ACCC red flags over Chemist Warehouse-Sigma deal

Health Industry Hub | June 14, 2024 |

Pharma News: The Pharmacy Guild of Australia has echoed the significant concerns of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) […]

More


News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

Competition watchdog raises concerns over cancer care provider's expansion plans

Competition watchdog raises concerns over cancer care provider’s expansion plans

Health Industry Hub | June 14, 2024 |

MedTech & Diagnostics News: A leading provider of cancer care services in Australia, faces scrutiny from the Australian Competition and […]

More


News & Trends - Biotechnology

Aussie biotech secures first local CAR T patent

Aussie biotech secures first local CAR T patent

Health Industry Hub | June 13, 2024 |

Biotech News: A Melbourne-based biotechnology company which specialises in developing immune cell therapies for cancer treatment, has been granted its […]

More


This content is copyright protected. Please subscribe to gain access.