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Hospital insurance arrangements in Queensland



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HOSPITAL INSURANCE ARRANGEMENTS' IN QUEENSLAND

The Commonwealth Minister for Health, Senator

Sir Kenneth Anderson, today announced improvements in hospital

insurance arrangements in Queensland which will mean that

most contributors will receive better coverage at no extra

cost.

From now onwards, there will be only two benefit

tables - an intermediate ward table and a private ward table -

for hospital insurance in Queensland instead of the 11 tables

which have operated up to the present»

Because Queensland public hospitals provide free

treatment in their public wards, contributors insured in the

new intermediate and private ward tables will receive a benefit

of $4 a day if they or their dependants occupy a free public

ward bed.

Existing members of the major health funds who

in the past have contributed to intermediate and private w&rd

tables will actually pay substantially lower contribution rates

under the new system.

The two tables of hospital benefits now available

have been set to cover completely the new charges introduced on

1 November for Queensland public hospitals. .

All contributors will, under the new system,

receive considerably greater cover than in the past and on more

favourable terms.

/ λ

The new weekly family rates for existing members of

health funds vary between funds but generally will range from

64 to 80 cents for intermediate ward cover and from 86 to 98

cents for private ward cover. Single rates are half the family

rates.

' From now on these contributions will provide health

fund members and their dependants with full coverage not only

for intermediate and private ward fees but also for "extras"

such as operating theatre fees, heart valves, pacemakers and

prostheses. .

Senator Anderson said that, because of the Commonwealth

Government's policy requiring health funds to gradually reduce

their financial reserves to a level equivalent to three months'

contribution income, existing health fund contributors would be

receiving benefits proportionately greater than they paid in

contributions.

The reserves held by the two largest Queensland

hospital benefit funds at 30 June, 1971, totalled approximately

$10.3 million. It was estimated that, under the new contribution

rates, reserves for the two major funds would fall by approximately

$1.1 million in 1972/73, the first full year of operation under

the new system. .

Senator Anderson said the policy of reducing these

reserves would substantially benefit existing members' of the

funds. For example, under the old system, when the intermediate

ward charge (which did not cover the cost of extras) was $11

a day, the then family contribution rate in a major fund was

80 cents a week and this provided benefits of $11.60 a day.

From now on contributors who were members of this fund before

1 November would pay only 64 cents a week and would receive

benefits covering not only the new intermediate ward charge of

$14 a day but also the cost of "extras"· In effect the

existing contributors would be paying 20 per cent less in

contributions and receiving 29 per cent more in benefits·

Contributors who joined funds after 1 November

would have to pay 80 cents a week for intermediate ward cover · . .

and 98 cents a week for private ward cover.

The Minister said, that during the three months from

1 November, contributors would automatically be eligible

for benefits at the new level which corresponded with the

level they were at present paying. Those in tables providing

fund benefits up to and including $9.60 a day under the old

system would receive cover at the new all inclusive intermediate

ward level and those in tables providing fund benefits of more

than $9.60 a day would receive cover at the new private ward

level. ■

Contributors were advised to watch for advertisements

by their funds which would give full details of individual

contribution rates and advise how adjustments to contributions

were to be made.

CANBERRA,

November 18, 1971„ Departmental No. 67