Healthcare affordability should be near the top of any government's priorities. Yet for so long federal budgets haven't focused enough on health insurance and other essentials that bring the cost of care down for everyday Australians.
The government's 2017/18 budget may have just bucked that trend, offering considerable improvements that will help make healthcare accessible for all. Reactions from prominent industry bodies thus far have been overwhelmingly positive, indicating that this budget may help to improve the private health insurance industry, allowing it to offer the help Australians need.
Private Healthcare Australia's glowing praise
One such organisation that has come out in support of the new measures is Private Healthcare Australia – the private health insurance industry's peak representative body. They represent 20 health funds with a combined membership of 12.9 million Australians, and that's why their opinions carry so much weight.
In a May 9 media release, Private Healthcare Australia's CEO Dr Rachel David said that the reinstatement of the Medicare benefits schedule indexation and the retention of the private health insurance rebate will improve healthcare affordability for all.
Dr David goes into detail on the reasons why these changes are so beneficial:
"The phased restoration of MBS indexation will reduce upward pressure on GP and specialist co-payments, which is a cost health fund members have been struggling with when they need a referral for treatment, or when they are billed by their chosen specialist. Out-of-pocket costs for medical specialist treatment are the biggest concern for health fund members when they need to access a health service."
"The private health insurance rebate is a critical element of Australia's mixed private – public health system."
She was similarly effusive in her praise of the government's decision to retain the private health insurance rebate:
"The private health insurance rebate is a critical element of Australia's mixed private – public health system. The private and public sectors are intrinsically interconnected and private health insurance is embedded in Australian culture. 84 per cent of Australians with private health insurance value the product and want to keep it."
What it means for you
When they're boiled down, these new government measures mean more affordable health insurance for all Australians. Here at HICA we believe that healthcare is a right – not a privilege – and we welcome any legislation that helps people get the help that they need.
To discuss how we can help you ensure you always have access to the healthcare you need, get in touch with an insurance advisor at HICA today.