The private health sector and the government need to work hand in hand to develop a rescue plan to prevent the industry from “spiring and dying,” a report from the think tank Grattan Institute said.
A report released Wednesday points out the urgent need for industry-wide overhaul, as private insurance premiums continue to rise faster than inflation and wages 20 years later.
“The industry was in the death spiral before the pandemic and is still in the death spiral today,” writes report authors Stephen Dackett and Greg Moran.
By the end of 2020, the number of members of private health insurance companies had grown to the highest level since March 2017.
The aging population, increased access to health services, and rising health care costs are key factors contributing to the “death spiral,” the report said.
They are pushing up the number of benefits that insurers have to pay each year, leading to higher premiums that are affordable and unattractive to “young and healthy” people.
The Grattan Institute also shed light on other issues such as exorbitant out-of-pocket medical costs, prosthetic limb “corruption”, government “bureaucratic formalism” and “government work”.
“More than 40% of the population has private health insurance, which is a large industry, so governments and major businesses need to make dramatic changes quickly. Most procedures are done in private hospitals. We will, “writes Duckett and Moran.
“All players, including governments, insurance companies, private hospitals, device importers and manufacturers, and private professionals, need to work together to develop an industry bailout plan. This bailout plan is bipartisan and It needs to be cost-neutral to the government. “
Little can be done about the aging of the population, but the Grattan Institute said governments and industry need to drive more efficient private hospitals or put downward pressure on costs.
The industry also suggests that “greedy” doctors who charge patients more than necessary should be “suppressed” to prevent hospitals from over-serving patients. They also want to see a “single invoice” system, which means that the patient receives only a single invoice that covers all aspects of patient care to prevent high out-of-pocket costs. ..
Approximately 6% of specialist services in hospitals are billed at more than twice the Medicare fee, and these services account for 89% of patients’ out-of-pocket costs, the report said. ..
It is also important to expose the prosthetics market to competition, the institute said. This is because it can reduce the cost of hip and knee replacements and further reduce insurance premiums. Private hospital insurance pays more than $ 2 billion annually for artificial limb benefits, but the listing and pricing methods for artificial limbs are unclear and protected from competitiveness.
Charles Maskel Knight, a former senior executive at the Ministry of Health, said: Parents The government has been trying to deal with the overcharges of private hospitals and practitioners for decades.
“Gratin hasn’t come up with a concrete proposal yet, so it doesn’t really come up with a concrete proposal to deal with it. The government has also raised insurance companies and their premiums. We may consider more closely why we need it. “
In 2019, Australia’s leading consumer lobby group, Choice, released a ranking of private health insurance policies and their costs. They have Frank (GMHBA) Health Insurance, Medibank, Bupa, HCF, HBF, NIB named as the worst criminals and over 215 Silver and Silver Plus insurance, which costs more than gold insurance from competitors. I found.