Health insurance is top of many Australian's list of things to keep and maintain. After all, there can be no better feeling than knowing health treatment will be subsidised in the event it's needed. In the past, many chose to pursue policies that were encompassing by nature, but came with higher costs from the outset.
Unlocking value for money
However, today, Minister for health Sussan Ley explained that a plethora of Australian consumers are favouring excesses and exclusions over a broader initial outlay. In fact, Ms Ley even went so far as to say that consumers are being extra careful to avoid 'junk' policies that provide little more than a bed in a public hospital, despite the high cost.
There number of newly issued 'all inclusive' health insurance policies dropped by 500,471 over the last year.
"Private health insurance is a fundamental part of our health system for Australians of all ages and income types, with half the population having some form of cover. [C]onsumers are angry, confused and I'm concerned that simply shopping around is no longer enough to get the best value for money," Ms Ley surmised.
So, are consumers' expectations, wants and needs of health insurance shifting? Well, there are hard facts that back up some of Ms Ley's thoughts. Specifically, the number of 'all inclusive' private health insurance policies has been steadily falling in recent times.
Figures collated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, cited by the Department of Health, explained that there was a reduction of 500,471 in all encompassing policies across 2014-2015. Meanwhile, the number of consumers seeking out health insurance options with more exclusions actually increased by 558,619.
The latter figure represents a year-on-year increase of around 48.1 per cent – the biggest single statistic of its kind ever recorded.
Private health insurance survey: what does it mean for Australian healthcare? https://t.co/4GVfZ8AFhN
— Guardian Australia (@GuardianAus) November 9, 2015
Seeking consumer input
The private health insurance industry is now being put under a touch more scrutiny by the Department of Health, with Australian policy holders being asked to contribute their opinions as part of a far-reaching survey.
Once the results from that research has been collated, Ms Ley and government at large will decide as to whether any wide-ranging changes need to be made in order to keep 'all inclusive' policies a viable, cost effective option.
If you'd like to find out more about exclusions, excesses and more encompassing policies, getting an expert opinion is crucial. To better understand your existing health insurance policy, or even start the process of finding a new one, give HICA a call today on 1300 44 22 01.