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Tuesday, 19 March 1985
Page: 380

Senator CROWLEY —Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for Health been drawn to the increasing number of private insurance funds which are non-registered health funds now offering packages of health insurance outside the guidelines required by the registered health funds? Can the Minister comment on the effect on costs of health insurance consequent on this move by extra funds into the health insurance area? What steps has the Government taken to address this problem? Are any further steps planned?

Senator GRIMES —I am aware that concern has been expressed to the Minister for Health and to the Government in general by groups as diverse as private medical practitioners and the voluntary health funds about the effect of the types of insurance that Senator Crowley has mentioned. In health insurance, be it public or private, we should have a balance so that one group of funds does not manage to get all the insurance from the low risk people, leaving either the public sector or, in the case of the voluntary health funds, the private sector with a too high proportion of the worst risk patients, therefore creating difficulties for those who have to pay through either public or private contributions. The Minister for Health is aware of this. I am unaware of what steps he is taking at the moment. I know that he has met with representatives of voluntary health funds. I will seek full information and reply to the Senate as soon as possible.