The APRA June quarter data shows the percentage of Australians with private health insurance has declined again to 43.6 percent, down from 47.3 percent just five years ago.
Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA) CEO, Michael Roff, said the Federal Government needed to consider a range of measures in the upcoming Budget to address the significant affordability issues of private health insurance.
“There has been further decline in membership and with increasing pressure on personal finances from increasing unemployment, particularly for young people and women, the Government needs to act to address affordability concerns so people can continue to access private hospitals when they need them,” Mr Roff said.
The data also showed that privately insured hospital services have gone down 19% compared to the same quarter last years and extras have done down 30% compared to the same quarter last year. Corporate health insurers are making massive savings this year as fewer people are claiming insurance.
Also responding to the APRA data, consumer advocacy group, CHOICE, accused corporate health insurers of making massive savings while still raising the prices on Australian families.
CHOICE’s Health Campaigner, Dean Price, said the APRA statistics showed a dramatic drop in the number of surgeries and treatments being covered by private health insurance during COVID-19.
“In the middle of the biggest global pandemic in over 100 years, people have been reminded of the quality of Medicare and our hospital system and have found little reason to stick with this expensive product,” Mr Price said.
“When you’re sick you just want certainty that you will be cared for, but private health insurance makes what should be simple more difficult. Private health insurance is still riddled with confusing policies, ever increasing premiums and shockingly high out of pocket costs.”
Of concern to many in the health sector are the statistics that show corporate health insurers spent $515 million less on people’s healthcare during the first months of COVID-19, despite making struggling families pay full price.