Private health insurance premiums

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten this week labelled private health insurance ‘a con’, but health fund Bupa says people want cheaper cover that excludes some conditions.

Mr Shorten made the cost of private health cover and the quality of cover provided a major theme of his first big speech for the year. He noted many more policies now had exclusions and argued that meant consumers were getting less value for money.

National Seniors knows that the rising cost of health cover is one of members’ biggest worries. In a survey late last year, members said if private health costs went up again, three out of four of you would cancel or reduce your cover.

The federal government has announced a rise of 3.95 per cent in health insurance premiums from April this year – less than last year’s hike and the lowest for 20 years. But still a rise.

Do you think Bupa has it right when it says people are demanding private health cover with exclusions because it is cheaper. If so, why did the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman's latest report show there were 1,740 complaints about issues like exclusions.

"The main issue of concern were hospital policies with unexpected exclusions and restrictions," the ombudsman's report for last financial year said. “Some basic and budget levels of hospital cover exclude or restrict services that many consumers assume are routine treatments or standard items."

If you’ve paid private health insurance premiums for decades, do you think you should be entitled to full coverage in your later years or would you prefer a ‘bare-bones’ policy rather than nothing?

Comments   37 Comments

(cont.) Really, those reliant on Medicare do get first class medical treatment and surgery. It is only for elective surgery that Medicare sometimes fails to deliver as fast as is desirable. A friend of mine got the same knee prosthesis as I did, but on Medicare paid zero! I paid a total of $4.5K out-of-pocket. But I had my knee done when I wanted, not when my turn came. My choice; my cost. I have no problem with our excellent system.

Given that we have paid PHI premiums for over 50 years now, I am glad that at long last we can get to benefit from it. I support the levy on those who try to join PHI only when they know their claims are going to increase dramatically. PHI needs to receive premiums from people of all ages and medical conditions to survive.

Modern medicine is allowing us all to live to a relatively healthy old age. But modern medicine is expensive! There are those of us within the senior cohort like myself and my husband who still pay the Medicare levy. I support this requirement. In addition, we choose to pay for PHI - have done so since 1965. For many many, years we paid more than we claimed. More recently, we claim more than we pay! That's what insurance is all about. We just want to be protected against catastrophic costs, and don't want to be on a waiting list for elective surgery! So, as far as we are concerned, we are happy with Australia's first-class health system! Compare with overseas situations - we have a pretty good system. Tweak it by all means, but let's not destroy it!

Labor’s future leader, Albanese accused the Greens of concocting “issues according to their own priorities, and often without looking at the consequences”. His own Leader, Shorten is even worse with issues like ‘health insurance is a con’ and Medicare scare statements etc. He also said Labor remained a “more democratic party than the Greens”. Well knock me down with a feather! If the Greens are the bench mark for democracy, all is lost. Go figure.

While Weg calls us names and derides our contributions, but provides no basis for his personal attacks.
I did say we have an inefficient health funding model. Health is funded via state and commonwealth (taxpayers), health insurance, Medicare, Medicare surcharges, and ever-increasing gap payments. As well, hospitals fundraise to supply equipment missed by official funding. Weg thinks this is efficient!
Does Weg think that funding a new ward in a hospital, without funding doctors and nurses is efficient? I think not! Does Weg actually believe duplicated state and federal health bureaucracies administering funding is efficient? Again not! I can happily cite numerous examples of funding inefficiencies, if NSA extends the 200 word limit.
I am happy to be proved wrong with any comments I contribute, but Weg making unsubstantiated accusations and calling me names proves nothing except that he has no valid argument or proof. If he did, he would share it.

Private Health insurance is certainly a con if you are left to pay huge sums of money in out-of-pocket costs in addition to expensive insurance premiums and loadings.

We need to go back to a system where Private Health Insurance is not parasitised by shareholders, and young people are not exempt from whatever financial abuses are inflicted on their elders. Like other commentators, I strongly suspect the segmentation of items covered gives an opportunity to push up prices, rather than saving anyone money.

The idea that Australia has the best health system in the world is seriously outdated. People are still waiting years for surgery in our public hospitals, especially orthopaedic surgery. People with severe mental health problems are still unable to access a proper assessment from a medical specialist and sufficient appropriate level of care. Our women are still being encouraged to give birth at home and many are sent home from our hospitals within 6 hours of delivery, leaving them vulnerable to a life threatening medical event.

A friend is an intern in a large public hospital. She told me she has to work for days at a time without any rest, and she makes mistakes due to inexperience and fatigue. This has been going on for decades. For anyone wishing to dispute this, I once worked in a university teaching hospital and I know that our hapless medical students sometimes worked in the Emergency Department without supervision.

As seniors we are supposed to have acquired wisdom and mellowed over the years.Weg does not appear to have done either as he attacks bloggers with name calling and ridicule.

He is welcome to disagree with others' comments because we live in a lucky country where free speech is valued.
If he wants to be respected as a responsible adult he should address the comments contributed, not attack contributors with baseless slurs. And a little common sense would not go astray.

Weg 13 Feb has again uses misquotes and ridicule to condemn mine and other comments, without reasons or proof.

I didn't say seniors can't get full health cover, I said that full health cover is becoming an unaffordable pipe dream for seniors on limited/fixed retirement incomes. Check my comments below his to see his blatant misrepresentation.

I also agree that our current health funding is inefficient. Currently health is funded via federal budget, state budget, PHI premiums, Medicare, out of pocket payments. There are massive duplications and inefficiencies in this mish mash, obvious to all but Weg.

His statement that Medicare provides full health cover to all Australians proves his naivete. Tell that to women waiting 6+ years for post mastectomy reconstructions. Medicare is totally inadequate if waiting lists prevent treatment.

Instead of misquoting and sarcasm, I suggest that Weg appraises himself of the facts, before embarassing himself with obvious misinformation.

Only a dullard would condemned the Australian health system by suggesting seniors can’t get full health cover at a time when they most need it. Medicare provides this level to any Australian at a zero cost.
Why debase a well principled form of non compulsory insurance that’s highly regulated and subjected to market influences. Go figure!

Why would any well informed person suggest Australia has a very inefficient health funding model. Get real!
Our health system is the best in the world despite this ignorant, baseless and deplorable criticism.............and all this debate started when a socialist dill decided to throw the cat in amongst the pigeons and describe health insurance as a con. Go figure!

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