Seniors call for health insurance shake-up

National Seniors has urged the Federal Government to focus on inefficiencies in the Australian health insurance system, rather than allowing private health insurers to keep jacking up premiums.

Chief Advocate Ian Henschke today said the affordability of private health insurance was one of the biggest concerns for older Australians.

Premiums increased by almost 40 per cent between 2010 and 2016, and would rise another 4.8 per cent from 1 April, which was around three times the rate of inflation.

Beware of fake online stores

Consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), is warning online shoppers to be wary of scammers masquerading as legitimate retailers.

The scammers often sold well-known brands at too-good-to-be-true prices, said ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard.

So far in 2017, the ACCC’s Scamwatch service had received more than 1000 reports of online shopping scams worth a total of over $150,000.

Hearing aid stories – the good, the bad and the ugly

National Seniors would like to hear from members about their experiences obtaining or purchasing hearing aids.

We are interested in your experience of dealing with hearing aid service providers, both public and private, to assist our advocacy efforts in this area.

National Seniors wants to share your experience with representatives on the Australian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport at a public hearing in Brisbane on 21 April.

Australians playing less competitive sport

Australia prides itself as a sporting nation but new research has shown that just one in five people now regularly plays competitive sport.

This was down from 27 per cent in 2001, according to the latest data from Roy Morgan Research, which monitors the participation trends in over 60 sports, fitness activities and outdoor leisure pursuits.

Whether one-on-one or team vs team, the number of Australians (aged 14 and over) who regularly play competitive sport has fallen since 2001.

Government to set aged care quality standards

Australian government-subsidised aged care services will have to meet a single set of quality standards under reforms due to come into force from July next year.

Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt said the Single Aged Care Quality Framework had been designed in consultation with industry and aged care representatives.

Two key parts of the framework are:

Glaucoma goes undiagnosed

Around 300,000 Australians have glaucoma but at least half of them are unaware they have the eye disease.

In a statement marking World Glaucoma week (12-18 March), Professor Jonathon Crowston, managing director of the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA), said early diagnosis was vital for treatment but up to 90 per cent of sufferers had no easily recognisable symptoms.

“Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve, which is the only part of the brain that can be clearly seen. It causes the cables in the nerve to die off quicker than they should,” Professor Crowston said.

Cafe culture alive and well in Australia

Australians’ eating habits are going more upmarket, with new research showing we are now more likely to go to a café than a fast food outlet than we were 10 years ago.

Having a meal at the pub has also become more popular than having a pizza home delivered, according to Roy Morgan Research.

Australians’ dining and dietary habits have also changed over the past decade, with low-fat diets falling out of favour, fewer people being preoccupied with their cholesterol levels, and more of us opting to buy the same food week in, week out.

Hobart posties first to pilot new e-vehicles

Australia Post is using Hobart as the first capital city in the country to pilot five new three-wheel electric vehicles that will allow posties to deliver more small parcels.

From March 20, the new e-vehicles will service the suburbs of Bellerive, Howrah, Montagu Bay, Mornington, Rosny Park, Tranmere and Warrane.

The new e-vehicles have three times the parcel carrying capacity of the postie motorbike and can hold up to 100 small parcels and 1,200 letters at a time.

Pensions increase with inflation rate from 20 March

Nearly five million people will get a small rise in their pensions or government allowances from 20 March as part of the twice-yearly indexation.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter said the 1.3 per cent increase reflected the Consumer Price Index (CPI) over the six months to December 2016.

The Age Pension and Disability Support Pension will lift by $11.20 a fortnight, bringing the maximum single rate to $888.30 a fortnight.

The rate will rise by $16.80 for a couple combined to $1,339.20 (including Pension Supplement and Energy Supplement).

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