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Controversy Corner: Is It Really Worth It?

28.02.2018

Did you know that of the more than 50% of Australians who are in a Health Fund, around 25% of them, do not use their private health cover when they are in hospital? Why is this, do you think? Could it have something to do with the fact that if you indicate while in hospital that you are in a health fund you end up paying more? Did you know that Australia has more than 30 private insurers, and that these insurers offer more than 20,000 products through their policies, and that many of these products are unnecessary and will never be used or claimed although other procedures which are common are not covered?!

The affordability of private health insurance is becoming increasingly an issue in Australia. Medicare, the great Australian monolith, remains popular despite the massive cost to the tax payer and whilst many complain that the health system is lacking, Australia still ranks among the top Western countries when it comes to our public health care system.

Too often, people in private health funds have come to the realisation that the procedures and services they have received are not covered by their health fund. Such private health fund policies have been labelled as junk. Policies are complex and there are usually many exclusions with even some of the most basic procedures are not covered.

Some experts have made the case that private health fund insurance is expensive and clumsy and that the tax system and Medicare could do a better job with the money.

In April, when the funds increase their charges by a further 2%, many people will be wondering if it is really, worth it.  Certainly, when it comes to rebating for natural therapies and for treatment programs offered to patients of AMC, a number of funds make it difficult if not impossible to obtain a rebate. This is so, even though, patients have been paying into these funds most of their lives, and have made few, if any, claims in that time but when it comes to the time they need to make a claim the fund makes some excuse as to why they will not pay up.

Maybe it is time to put some pressure on the funds to give real value for money.

Ron Loftus Feb 2018