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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4601

Mr Berinson (PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice:

(I)   What were the total reserves of the medical and hospital funds in each State in each of the last 5 years.

(2)   What measures have been taken to stabilise or reduce these reserves, and what is the anticipated effect of these measures over the next 5 year period.

Dr Forbes - The Minister for Health has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   The reserves of medical and hospital benefits organisations in each State during each of the last 5 years were as follows:


(2)   The Government has adopted a policy under which larger organisations' 'free' reserves will generally be limited to the equivalent of three months' contribution income. In the case of smaller organisations more flexibility is being allowed and their 'free' reserves may be permitted to exceed that level in appropriate circumstances.

This policy was implemented for medical benefits organisations in conjunction with the introduction of the Health Benefits Plan on 1st July 1970. For hospital benefits organisations, the policy was implemented in conjunction with the increases in hospital charges in each State during 1971. The contribution rates set at the limes of these increases were designed to reduce or, if necessary, increase each 'free' reserve level to an amount equivalent . lo three months' contribution income in the case of the large funds, and equivalent to six months- contribution income in the case of the smaller funds. These reductions or increases are expected to occur gradually.

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