ADA calls on government to pressure insurers to lower premiums

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The Australian Dental Association has called on Health Minister Greg Hunt to insist insurers keep premium increases to a minimum when the time comes next April for any premium changes made by insurers to take effect.

The premium hike demands of some private health insurers are driven by profits rather than providing comprehensive care to patients, according to the Australian Dental Association.

The proof, it says, is the latest advice from the Australian Health Prudential Authority (APRA) that medical device costs are not a justifiable reason to increase premiums.

Coupled with the results of a survey by the Medical Technology Association of Australia, which showed 73 per cent of people surveyed supported forcing health insurers to use a portion of their profits to keep premiums down, the ADA is lobbying the Government.

“These APRA results show that costs are reducing for health insurers in many areas of their business,” ADA president Dr Carmelo Bonanno said. 

“The ADA has repeatedly demonstrated that the same situation is occurring with extras policies. Yet patients are experiencing more restrictions on what is and isn’t covered when it comes to their policies while their rebates are not increasing.

“Rebates have not kept pace with inflation, yet consumers continue to pay more for their extras policies premium. It simply doesn’t make sense to have extras anymore,” Bonanno added.

Last year the ADA released a report outlining a model which could replace health insurance for general treatment in the primary care setting, similar to the model that exists in Singapore. The report Saving For One’s Care demonstrates how putting money into a savings account could work equally as well for many consumers.

“I, and many other dentists are advising our patients to either move to a not-for-profit fund or put their money into a savings account instead where they will be able to gain interest and not lose any unspent funds at the end of each year,” Dr Bonanno said.

This article was sourced from an ADA media release.

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