Comparison association rejects confusion claim

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The association representing commercial and not-for-profit comparison sites has joined private health insurers in rejecting suggestions reforms to the sector are confusing and consumers should wait until they are fully implemented before considering their options.

Choice recently took down its private health insurance comparison tool, claiming it is unable to recommend products "given the current state of the market."

The reforms include the categorisation of all private health insurance policies as gold, silver, bronze or basic.

“New policies will be released over the coming weeks and months that will change in coverage and price. Until we have all the facts about the quality of cover in the market, no one can tell you what the best value for money policy will be for your needs," said Choice.

However, according to the Private Health Insurance Intermediaries Association (PHIIA), now is as good a time as ever for customers to review their options. It said its members are well placed to provide Australians with value during the 12-month transition period because they have invested in upgrading their systems and training staff.

“Our members have invested in systems and consultants that are able to pick out policies that will cover people for their important requirements before, during and after the reforms,” said Christopher Zinn, CEO of PHIIA.

“Instead of waiting for the system to completely change and risk over-paying or being under-insured in the meantime, now is a great time for customers to compare their options to see which policies best suit their needs – and PHIIA’s members have put in the work to make sure that the process is a simple one for their customers.”

He continued, “Consumers should use the arrival of the reforms as a worthwhile nudge to get on and review their existing cover, or take it out for the first time, and ensure they are comparing policies and providers.

“Should the new categories create confusion, even in the short-term, PHIIA members have the expertise to guide the public through the transition.”