When you last compared health insurance cover options, how did you find the process? According to the Consumer Health Forum (CHF) of Australia, it could be a lot easier and much clearer.
The group has proposed a new way of doing so, through its MyCover reform.
The proposal follows recent findings from the CHF, which unearthed a number of startling statistics around how confused some policyholders are. Among the surveyed individuals:
- Half said they are confident in their understanding of what was covered in their health insurance policies
- Overall consumer satisfaction was only 38 per cent
- More than one in five said they have been denied a claim by their health insurer
Only one in four respondents said selecting health insurance was easy.
On top of this, only one in four respondents said selecting health insurance was easy, with the vast majority finding the process confusing or protracted. It's not all that surprising, with 34 health funds all offering different policies and packages.
Even so, CEO of the Consumers Health Forum Leanne Wells said the findings leave a lot to be desired.
"This is a poor result for health insurance which exists on the back of huge government financial and regulatory support. These survey results highlight the need for real action to ensure public policy and public subsidies deliver concrete benefits for consumers," Ms Wells opined.
Setting the standard
The CHF said its MyCover proposal will require health insurers to include standardised and simple hospital policies to help people compare and choose a basic level of private health cover.
This would tackle what Ms Wells called in a January 8 ABC report, the "main issue", which is that there are more than 48,000 different health insurance products for Australian consumers to consider, and not a lot of help for them to do so.
"It's not like a straight consumer decision, like shopping for a fridge or an iron or something," she told the news channel. "It's very, very difficult to compare and contrast and look at the value you are getting."
There are more than 48,000 different health insurance products for Australian consumers to consider.
Clearing up fees
MyCover would also offer clarity early on about the fees that doctors and hospitals charge, to help people make an informed decision, the CHF continued. A public web portal would offer key information on the costs of health insurance, which the group says people aren't currently getting from their health fund.
What are your thoughts?
As with any reform, it's important that people are getting what they want. So, what was your recent experience comparing health insurance policies like?
If you find the market a confusing one to navigate, HICA is here to help. We offer free and impartial assistance to people searching for individual or family health insurance cover. We also help businesses find an effective level of corporate health insurance.
Call us on 1300 44 22 01 to speak to an expert.