The Australian government has long had a focus on ensuring that citizens maintain their health and wellbeing. Naturally, much of this mantra is funnelled to the general population through policies surrounding insurance.
Fortunately, the public seem to be listening to the long-term advice of the authorities, while more people than ever before choosing to cover themselves via private health insurance. In fact, statistics collated in early 2015 by the government's Private Health Insurance Administration Council suggested that over 11 million people – some 47.3 per cent of the population – have hospital treatment cover.
Some 47.3 per cent of the population are covered by a private health insurance policy.
Moreover, that figure is increasing month-to-month, as well as yearly. Consequently, there can be no denying that more Australians are pursuing health insurance to support their wellbeing, but are such policies having the right kind of impact on the country's overarching health?
Time for a change?
Well, research collated by Victoria University's Australian Health Policy Collaboration (AHPC) explained that the current health insurance system may not be fit for purpose if the long-term aim is to limit and ultimately eliminate the prevalence of common diseases.
In fact, the AHPC explained that existing policies aren't necessarily structured in a way that allows for the most effective treatments of serious health issues, and the long-term wellbeing of the nation could be at risk as a result.
Chronic conditions such as stroke, diabetes and depression afflict as many as seven million Australians, and such ailments tend to get worse with age. Consequently, as the average lifespan of the population grows, AHPC argues that the issues are simply too big to ignore.
— Aged Care Crisis (@agedcarecrisis) November 16, 2015
The need for preventative care
One of the main loopholes with the current insurance system that AHPC was keen to point out is in the nuances of preventative care. While many health funds offer it, preventative care is an optional extra in many cases.
Consequently, advanced treatments in the face of chronic diseases can often be the reserve of those who can afford them, and don't necessarily align with the wants and needs of the government to provide affordable healthcare for the general populous.
AHPC argues that this way of thinking is increasingly detrimental, and its research even surmised that the Australian economy – and the country's general outlook – would be a lot different if the current mentality had been applied to equally broad health issues of the past, such as infectious diseases.
The way forward
Going forward, AHPC argued that it would like the government to introduce more universal, standardised health insurance that better services the complex health needs of the wider population.
This would include the assessment of any prevalent health issues that are ongoing, and having affordable health insurance policies in place than can better help the public maintain their wellbeing in the face of complex ailments.
So, while a universal system may be some way off – despite the calls of the AHPC – what can Australians do in the here and now to ensure that their health insurance policy is providing an ample level of coverage?
Well, it's a case of consistently assessing health needs, and seeking advice from the experts where possible. Consequently, if you'd like to learn more about the ideal health insurance policy to fit your needs, or would like an accurate appraisal of how your existing arrangement is suitable, talk things through with a HICA expert today on 1300 44 22 01.