The cost of medical devices has fallen over the past 12 months, according to the latest statistical report from the prudential regulator.
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has issued its Quarterly Private Health Insurance Statistics update for the first three months of 2019.
According to the report, benefit outlays for some categories of medical devices fell by as much as 16 per cent over the twelve months to the end of March 2019.
"Costs for medical devices have fallen in every quarter since the MTAA’s (Medical Technology Association of Australia) Agreement with the Federal Government signed in 2017," said the association in response to the statistical release.
"The Agreement signed in October 2017 will save private health insurers $1.1 billion in payments for medical devices over the next four years and directly resulted in delivering the lowest private health insurance premium increase in 18 years," it added.
It said since the March 2018 quarter there have been reductions in average benefits across almost all prostheses categories, including 16.4 per cent for cardiac, 5.3 per cent for hips and 5.7 per cent for knees.
Compared with the March 2018 quarter, March 2019 quarter statistics show the average benefit paid for all prostheses has fallen by 9 per cent.
“Today’s APRA data continues to demonstrate the impact of MTAA’s Agreement with the Federal Government through a reduction in costs for medical devices," said MTAA CEO Ian Burgess.
“MTAA has made a significant contribution to the affordability of healthcare in Australia through the delivery of the lowest private health insurance premium increase in 18 years in 2018," he said.
“Cardiac costs are down 6.6%, hip costs are down 3.7%, knee costs are down 2.7% - this is a tangible demonstration of the benefits of the MedTech industry’s contribution to the affordability of private health insurance.
“Private health insurers must now demonstrate that they have passed these savings on to consumers in full.
“The medical technology industry believes access to a full range of medical technology is one of the key benefits of having private health insurance and we’re committed to helping ensure all Australians lead healthier and more productive lives.”