Featured Health Reform

INSURERS MUST PASS ON SAVINGS TO CONSUMERS

The release of the December quarter APRA figures this week had private healthcare pointing the finger at everyone but themselves, as insurers’ profits go up and the cost of devices goes down.

With increasing margins and premiums up 3% in the December quarter, private health insurers continue to rake in profits as costs continue to rise for consumers, who are paying consistently more for less.

As PulseLine’s regular readers will know, the medical technology industry struck a deal with the Government in 2017 to cut prices on the Prostheses List by $1.1 billion over four years, which meant that private health insurance premiums rose by their lowest level in 18 years in 2018.

The December quarter APRA data demonstrated again that those reforms are bringing costs down for insurers. Since the September 2018 there have been cost reductions across significant prostheses categories, including:

  • Cardiac costs down 1.7%
  • Hip costs down 1.4%
  • Knee costs down 1.1%

And compared with the December quarter a year ago in 2017, the savings are even more evident, with:

  • Total benefits paid for prostheses down 4%
  • Average benefit paid for all prostheses down 12%

This is a direct result of the $1.1 billion dollars in cuts that the medtech industry delivered through its Agreement with the Government, and a crucial demonstration of the significant contribution that medical technology is making towards affordable health care.

It is now up to private health insurers to stop pointing the finger and start looking at how they can ensure those reductions flow through to consumers, to provide continuing affordability and access to better health outcomes for all Australians.

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