The Federal Government’s recent response to the recommendations from the Senate Inquiry into the value and affordability of private health insurance and out-of-pocket medical costs shows whose side the Government is on, and it is not patients.
These words are those of the Australian Dental Association, also unhappy that the Government released the said response so close to Christmas when many people were away.
ADA federal president Dr Carmelo Bonanno expressed his disappointment about both the premiums and the report claiming that the government continues to give gifts to insurers but nothing to patients.
“Minister Hunt says that the 3.25 per cent premium increase is low. That all depends on what you compare it to. While it is less than previous years, it is high if you compare it to the annual increase in dental fees. This increase is just a gift to the health insurers. It is offered without any expectation that health funds will increase their rebates. So, consumers pay more for the product but get miserable rebates in return.”
Analysis by the ADA has found that private health insurance premiums have increased by almost 27 per cent over the five years to June 2018 compared to health inflation of 21 per cent and dental cost growth of eight per cent.
According to data from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, some ‘for profit’ health funds are generating returns on equity of over 30 per cent.
“Compare this to the major banks at around 12 per cent and you can see just how much money these companies are making for their shareholders—at the expense of Australian health consumers,” Dr Bonanno said.
Based on information sourced from an ADA press release.