Private hospitals warn against ‘set and forget’

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The Australian Private Hospitals Association says the ACCC’s recent annual report on private health insurance shows the importance of people regularly checking their cover.

The ACCC is required under a Senate Order to report annually on the private health insurance sector. In its most recent report, released earlier this week, the competition regulator said for the first time the majority of private hospital cover policies have exclusions.

According to APHA CEO Michael Roff, “In the reporting period hospital policies with exclusions increased by nearly 14 percent. That means more Australians are not getting full cover and may not have a policy that will meet their needs.”

He continued, “We encourage Australians to check their policy every year and make sure it fits their changing family circumstances, their age and their health needs. Unfortunately, too many people take a ‘set and forget’ approach to private health insurance and end up needing a procedure they are not covered for. The private health insurance policy you need at 30 is not the same as the one you need at 45 or at 65 years old.

“We understand that Australians are feeling the pinch when it comes to low wages growth and increasing policy premium costs, we encourage them to do some research to find a policy that will best suit their needs and those of their family.

“Unfortunately it is often the role of the private hospital to let people know that their policy will not cover them for a procedure they need. It is devastating to have to share that news with people when they are vulnerable and unwell.

“Another issue is the number of junk or ‘basic’ policies still on the market. These policies have appeal due to cost, but unfortunately they don’t cover people for most treatments in private hospitals,” he added.