register

News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

Stakeholders call for ‘new referee’ as private health insurers rake in profits amid premium hikes

Health Industry Hub | March 6, 2024 |

MedTech & Diagnostics News: In the aftermath of yesterday’s surge in private health insurance premiums and a notable surge in profits for insurers, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) is urging the establishment of a new independent body to oversee the sector, ensuring that patients receive optimal value for their money.

Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler has disclosed an average 3.03% increase in health insurance premiums effective from April 2024.

Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA) CEO Michael Roff emphasised that the responsibility is now squarely placed on health insurance companies to safeguard the ongoing viability of Australia’s private hospitals in the wake of the premium increase announcement.

AMA President Professor Steve Robson unveiled the AMA’s private health budget submission, advocating for the creation of a Private Health System Authority to ensure the sector’s appropriate regulation.

Professor Robson stated, “We need an independent body that has the capacity, objectivity, and expertise to ensure the system is fair for patients and balances everyone’s interests.”

He added “We want to see a mandatory minimum payout with 90% of every premium dollar going back to the patient. We also need to have more money flowing to improving patient health outcomes and less going into management expenses and profits of insurers.”

Michael Roff, APHA CEO, highlighted the challenges faced by private hospitals, emphasising the impact of losses due to COVID-19-induced elective surgery restrictions.

“Private hospital activity is not where we would expect, especially given there are now more than 850,000 additional Australians with hospital cover than prior to the pandemic,” Mr Roff remarked. He stressed that health insurance payments have not kept pace with the rising costs incurred by hospitals.

The Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF) raised concerns about the cost-of-living pressures and the potential impact on the affordability of private health insurance for the 14 million Australians holding policies . CHF called for continued collaboration among all levels of government to invest in the public health system, aiming to restore public confidence in the healthcare system.

Mr Roff cited data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, revealing that only 30% of businesses in the private hospital sector reporting a profit or just breaking even in 2021-22. This is down from 89% in 2019-20 and the situation has deteriorated further in the last 12 months. In contrast, health insurers are experiencing record profitability where in the last financial year the private health insurance industry made a collective profit of more than $2 billion, up from a $1 billion profit the previous year.

He warned that unless health insurance companies prioritise sustainability over profits, closures and service reductions in private hospitals will persist, ultimately burdening public hospitals and taxpayers.

Professor Robson criticised the current regulatory and legislative frameworks, deeming them unfit for purpose and advocating for comprehensive reform.

“A new referee would create a platform for all the key players in the sector to come together and make once-in-a-generation reforms. This change is needed for the best interests for patients, day hospitals, private hospitals, private health insurers, medical device manufacturers, and doctors. We are currently seeing patients wading through unexpected out-of-pocket costs, restricted choice, and additional complexity,” he stated, emphasising the need for an independent body to streamline processes and protect patients.

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.