Community Health Reform

Choices, choices and the Prostheses List

This week, a Choice national survey found that health insurance has overtaken electricity as Australia’s primary household cost concern, with 82% of households anxious about health insurance costs.

As health insurers resort to increasingly more desperate attacks on the medical device industry, let’s take a look at another ‘choice’, the choice that contributes so much to the value proposition of health insurance – choice of medical device.

As the April 1 changes to private health insurance draw closer, most policy-holders have received letters from their insurers explaining that things are about to change. Some letters even refer to cuts to the Prostheses List and the contribution this has made to the lowest premium increase for 18 years.

But how many people actually know what the Prostheses List is and what it adds to the value proposition of their health insurance?

The Prostheses List is what gives privately insured patients choice. Choice and access to a wide range of cutting-edge implantable medical devices, at no cost to them. The Prostheses List has also played a significant role in supporting private health insurance whilst at the same time suppressing benefit inflation.

Until consumers better understand the Prostheses List and what it is that their private health insurers are trying to take away from them, insurers will continue to play on the dearth of information available to their customers to make disingenuous claims about the device industry.

Such as their fixation on comparing apples with oranges as they attempt to resuscitate the tired old argument of international reference pricing.

There is no denying that our ageing population and the increasing prevalence of chronic disease is driving up the overall cost of healthcare in Australia, which means it is even more incumbent on our private health insurers to take an honest look at their costs, and, let’s be realistic, their not insignificant profits, without coming back to medical devices for another round.

The future of our private health system depends on it.

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