Ombudsman reports a decline in complaints

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The ombudsman has reported 1,008 private health insurance complaints in the three months to the end of June 2019 - a 3 per cent fall compared to the first three months of 2019 and a 15 per cent decline compared to June quarter last year.

According to the ombudsman, the introduction in April of policy categorisations (Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic) standard clinical categories meant "a number of health insurers transferred policyholders onto new policies and this process will continue until 1 April 2020 when the transition period ends."

"During the quarter despite the significant changes to policies and the volume of communications to policyholders, there was no resulting increase in complaints to the Office," it said.

The top-five complaint sub-issues during the quarter related to pre-existing conditions waiting periods, hospital exclusions and restrictions, membership cancellations, general service issues and verbal advice.

The majority of complaints remained about private health insurers but this is consistent with previous updates. 

"Notably, complaints against brokers and comparison services continue to be down by approximately 50 per cent, compared to the September 2018 quarter," said the ombudsman.