The Australian Dental Association has this week called for bipartisan support for tax incentives to allow individuals to save for their own health care as an alternative to taking out general treatment cover.
This is after private health insurer Bupa recently told a third of its Australian customers their cover for a range of procedures will change from a minimal benefit to total exclusion.
“Governments could use tax incentives for health savings accounts to offer positive incentives to save for one’s care in a way that is consumer-centered, without barriers to consumer choice, and where consumers are rewarded for proactively managing their dental and allied health care in a way that is easily understood,” ADA president Dr Sachs said.
Health savings accounts present an opportunity to encourage Australians to save for their dental and allied health care, overcoming the limitations to general treatment cover and introducing a reward-based proactive approach to health care.
The ADA has repeatedly stated that extras or general treatment insurance is not real insurance. Insurance as a product protects against unexpected costs. Extras cover provides a subsidy at best—and with so many claiming restrictions and caps, patients end up with large out-of-pocket costs.
“The reality is Australians have been experiencing more out-of-pocket costs and are paying more in premiums over the last 15 years,” Dr Sachs said.
“Bupa policy holders are now facing even more restrictions. The system is not working and it’s time to go back to the drawing board.”
Based on a media release sourced from the ADA website.