Health

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.

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.

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.

Call to cut prescription drugs prices

A new report calls for an overhaul in the way the government pays for prescription drugs, saying that Australians pay more than $500 million a year too much.

The Grattan Institute’s report Cutting a better drug deal says taxpayers and patients would pay less if the federal government changed the way prices are set under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

The report finds drug prices in Australia are more than twice as high as in the UK and more than three times higher than in New Zealand.

Shop around for best deals on hearing aids

Consumer watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) wants the hearing clinics industry to reconsider commissions, disclosure and sales practices.

In its report Issues around the sale of hearing aids, the ACCC urges consumers to be aware that hearing clinics are mostly profit-making businesses like any other store and consumers should shop around for the best hearing aid to suit their needs.

Call to cut prescription drugs prices

A new report calls for an overhaul in the way the government pays for prescription drugs, saying that Australians pay more than $500 million a year too much.

The Grattan Institute’s report Cutting a better drug deal says taxpayers and patients would pay less if the federal government changed the way prices are set under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

The report finds drug prices in Australia are more than twice as high as in the UK and more than three times higher than in New Zealand.

Hospital at home could cut treatment costs by half

Treating acutely ill patients at home, rather than in hospital, could slash treatment costs by up to 50 per cent and reduce mortality rates by 20 per cent, a new study has found.

An issues paper prepared by researchers from the Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation (AusHSI) at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) also found home-based care would cut hospital readmission by a quarter.

Walking longer can mean shorter stays in hospital

Walking each day can mean fewer days spent in hospital for older people, a new study has found.

Researchers at the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Newcastle said that increasing the number of steps taken each day from 4,500 to 8,800 or about three 3kms linked to one less day in hospital every three years.

Coping with chronic knee pain

People with chronic knee pain who live in rural or remote areas could learn new ways to help themselves with lessons delivered via Skype, researchers at the University of Melbourne say.

They have developed an online treatment which has improved symptoms and functioning for people suffering knee osteoarthritis, the main cause of chronic knee pain.

Research trial findings published this week in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, suggest online delivery is the key to greatly improve patient access to effective non-drug treatments. 

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