Do you have any complaints or concerns surrounding your private health insurance?
Some Australians do, and will turn to their health funds for advice. However, many others are not receiving the level of service they would like from their insurance providers, a recent report suggests.
The Private Health Insurance Ombudsman (PHIO) – the body responsible for monitoring the industry and handling customer problems and enquiries – has released its annual report over the concerns of private health insurance customers.
The PHIO's latest State of the Health Funds Report for 2014 has shown record amounts of communication by health fund members in regards to their policies.
Questions and complaints
The most frequent reasons for members to get in touch involved questions surrounding:
- Lifetime Health Cover (LHC)
- The Medicare Levy Surcharge
- The Australian Government Private Health Insurance Rebate
- Waiting periods
- Assistance comparing policies
Meanwhile, the leading causes for complaint involved:
- Oral advice from the health fund
- Hospital exclusions and restrictions
- Service complaints
- The pre-existing condition waiting period.
A media release from the PHIO said the industry can work together to ensure customers have the information they need when they need it.
"The overall theme linking these key complaint issues together is the quality of information provided to members about health insurance policies and claiming benefits, " the PHIO said.
"Health funds and others in the industry are encouraged to continuously monitor and improve the quality of information they provide to policyholders in assisting to keep health insurance complaints as low as possible."
However, Acting Ombudsman David McGregor said the results don't necessarily mean a decrease in service from health funds, but suggest more consumer awareness around the assistance offered by the PHIO.
"The dramatic increase in the number of unique visitors to the consumer website to be now almost a million people (899,841) is very pleasing and demonstrates that consumers are increasingly embracing one of PHIO's key messages to be diligent on their own behalf in finding out about private health insurance," he explained.
Where to find assistance
If you have questions regarding your access to private health insurance, HICA is here to help.
As a health insurance broker for more than 25 years, we have the independence and expertise to help you find the support you need – whether it involves your LHC loadings or comparing health insurance premiums.
What's more, our services are free of charge and without obligation.
If you would like to speak with a HICA professional today, please call 1300 44 22 01.