Members Health is calling on the major parties to commit to restoring the private health insurance rebate to 30 per cent.
The organisation, which represents 26 not-for-profit private health insurers, said a failure to strengthen the rebate means more people will be forced to rely on the overstretched public hospital system.
“The private health insurance rebate improves Australians access to healthcare, while providing real cost of living relief,” said Members Health CEO Matthew Koce.
The original 30 per cent rebate has been reduced through reforms introduced by successive federal governments. The rebate now sits at 24.6 per cent.
“Erosion of the private health insurance rebate is hurting household budgets and the pain is set to get worse. Exclusive Members Health research has shown that families would have been around $399 better off this year if the rebate remained as it was originally intended at 30 per cent,” said Mr Koce.
“Many Australian families are doing it tough and with public hospital waits extending into the never-never, the last thing anyone would want is to be forced to drop their health insurance cover due to cuts to the declining health insurance rebate.”
“Based on current premiums, a failure to return the rebate to its full strength could conservatively cost battling families a staggering $2,100 over the next five years,” Mr Koce added.
“The rebate is means-tested so only goes to those that need it most. Setting the rebate at 30 per cent ensures fairness by making private health insurance affordable for more Australians, and it puts more money back into the family budget.”
“There are currently more than 14.1 million Australians with some form of private health insurance. It’s a vital part of our health system and represents a cost-efficient and effective way of responding to the health needs of the Australian public.”
“The rebate costs the Government around $6 billion per annum but pays out a massive $21 billion in private health insurance benefits to consumers each year.”