Australian private health insurance needs instant attention as an increasing number of Australians opt out of their insurance plans dipping it down by an entire percent since last year and the lowest since 2007. The government and private health insurance both are alarmed by the present figures released by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).
Almost 30,000 people have forsaken their insurance policies in the last 3 months. This comes in the wake of ascended health insurance premiums, to 2.8% over the June quarter. The report also found that people where bearing more out of pocket expenses on hospital bills. The proportion of the population with basic hospital cover dropped to 44.2 per cent, an all time low in more than a decade.
The President of the Australian Medical Association Dr. Tony Bartone said addressed the issue with some distress, “This is a continuation of the same trend, the same spiraling down trend we’ve been referring to for many months now. Our public health system is predicated on a specific amount of work being done on the private system — that is relieving a lot of pressure on public systems. If that was to fall over tomorrow, that would [create] an enormous burden, an enormous burden the public system could not cope with.”
Speaking from the private insurance point of view, the chief executive of the private health insurance industry’s peak representative body, Private HealthCare Australia, Dr. Rachel David also said, “Of course it’s concerning, we know people are finding it hard to cover the cost of the premiums, and private health is perceived as expensive”. She also inversely, stated that the addition to premiums also covers more benefits, and is a “value for money”, if people stick around.
The report also showed that the out of pocket expense of Australians was also on a rise, gaining up to a good 2% over the last year. This expense also changes as per the locations. For instance, people in Canberra are paying considerably higher than most for specialists. The government is looking at some much needed reforms to this industry.