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Private Health Insurance Bill to be tabled today



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25 November 2019

PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE BILL TO BE TABLED TODAY

Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, will introduce the Private Health Insurance Legislation Amendment (Fairer Rules for General Treatments) Bill 2019 this morning, which introduces important reforms to the private health insurance sector.

WHEN: Approximately 10:05am TODAY 25 November 2019 WHERE: House of Representatives (watch live at https://www.aph.gov.au/news_and_events/watch_parliament)

“The bill puts in place three essential reforms, which will help combat the downward spiral in private health cover and promote the health and well-being of patients,” Mr Wilkie said.

“Firstly, this bill amends legislation to prevent private health insurers offering differential rebates, which is important to promote patient choice and ensure the sustainability of independent health service providers.

“Secondly, this bill prevents private health insurance companies from acting as both insurers and providers of medical treatment, which is important because inherent in current arrangements is a profound conflict of interest. Clearly the very distinct roles of insurers hoping to minimise payouts, and service provider like dentists hoping to deliver quality health care, must be kept separate in order to promote patient health and welfare.

“Thirdly, this bill helps regulate the use of data that private health insurers obtain from the HICAPS system, because it gives APRA the ability to intervene if it believes that private health insurers are inappropriately using data to manipulate the market. This will help prevent an anti-competitive health insurance market and prioritise patient care over maximising profit.

“The private health insurance industry in this country is in trouble. Figures released by APRA earlier this year show that in December 2018 there were 65,000 fewer Australians with health insurance compared to the year before, marking the greatest yearly fall in private hospital cover in 15 years.

“The evidence is clear - we need immediate and extensive reform of the private health insurance industry to prevent its collapse, and this bill provides a substantial start.”

For more information: 0427 291 785