After five years of Liberal dithering this is what you get: more and more Australians downgrading or ditching their private health cover in response to relentless price rises, soaring out-of-pocket costs and growing exclusions.
The latest ACCC report into private health insurance offers yet more confirmation that the Liberals’ so-called “reforms” – designed hand-in-hand with the insurers themselves – are doing little to bring down costs or restore trust in this industry.
The report finds:
- In 2017–18, consumers paid about $23.9 billion in private health insurance premiums – an increase of almost $834 million over 2016–17;
- As of June 2018, 45.1 per cent of the Australian population held hospital-only or combined health insurance cover – a decrease of 0.9 percentage points from a year earlier;
- The proportion of the population holding extras-only policies increased from 8.9 per cent in June 2017 to 9.2 per cent in June 2018;
- The average out-of-pocket expenses from hospital treatment increased by 3.3 per cent;
- In June 2018, 44 per cent of hospital policies held had exclusions, compared with 40 per cent in June 2017.
Under the Liberals, premiums have increased by 27 per cent since 2014 – costing families an average $1,000 more. Meanwhile, the insurers remain highly profitable.
The Government is still patting itself on the back for delivering a 4 per cent premium price rise this year – double the inflation rate.
Clearly Australians don’t agree that this is some kind of great victory and they’re fleeing this market in record numbers, putting the entire industry at risk. And the Government has done nothing more than tinker at the edges.
The ACCC report shows why Labor’s policies are so sorely needed.
Labor will cap premium price increases at 2 per cent for two years, delivering families an average saving of $340 and shifting the balance back in the favour of consumers rather than company executives. We will also task the Productivity Commission with a sweeping review to identify long-term sustainable ways to bring down costs and improve quality.
Only with these policies can we stop the exodus and get this industry back on track.
MONDAY, 26 NOVEMBER 2018