New research commissioned by HCF has revealed the extent of the role private health insurance has played in the COVID-19 pandemic in supporting ongoing access to preventative health.
According to the research, which was conducted by 5th Dimension Research and Consulting in December 2020 and January this year, over three-quarters of respondents (76 per cent) now believe focusing on their health is an investment in their future.
Australians also recognise that access to private health insurance facilitates access to preventative treatments. Nearly three quarters (71 per cent) believe that preventative healthcare reduces the need for more extensive treatment later. Over half (55 per cent) believe that if everyone had access to private health insurance, they would be more likely to use preventative treatment.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has showed that now, more than ever, we need to shift from ‘treating’ to ‘preventing’. Currently, almost a third of Australia’s total burden of disease can be attributed to modifiable risk factors that can be prevented. With the public system more than ever focussed on delivering acute care, we know Australians need options in the private system to access those preventive care measures to help reduce the likelihood of needing treatment down the track,” said HCF CEO Sheena Jack.
HCF said the research also shows those who have private health insurance proactively care for their health. Over the past two years, the vast majority of people (93 per cent) holding private health insurance with Extras cover have used and claimed services such as dental services, optical services, physio, chiro or massage services, or mental health services.
However, amongst those that have used mental health services in the past two years, nearly half (45 per cent) say they would not be able to continue to use it at the same rate if it was not available through their private health insurer.
“At HCF, we want to ensure our members can proactively care for their health and we remain focused on playing an active role in their wellbeing, prevention, and reducing the burden of chronic conditions," added Ms Jack.