Government revisits device sector for help on premium increase

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The medical device sector is being asked to help deliver another low increase in private health insurance premium increases.

The medical device sector signed a strategic agreement in 2017 through its representative body the Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA).

It secured very specific outcomes in return for agreement on a reduction in prices to some devices included on the Prostheses List.

These reductions have been passed on by private health insurers in the form of lower premium increases - this year's average annual increase of 3.25 per cent was the lowest since 2001.

However, it is understood the federal government is applying significant renewed pressure to the medical device sector ahead of next year's increase, with the goal of negotiating further price reductions and achieving an annual premium rise of potentially less than 3 per cent.

It is also understood the discussions are significantly focussed on high volume but relatively low priced items on the Prostheses List.

The MTAA's agreement is very specific on this issue and arguably provides greater protections than those signed by Medicines Australia and the GBMA.

According to the agreement, the federal government agreed to, "Making no other changes to benefits on the Prostheses List during the term of this Agreement without agreement with the MTAA on behalf of the industry."

The MTAA's agreement expires in early 2022.