Private insurers launch campaign promoting reform of device pricing

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Private Healthcare Australia has announced the launch of a new campaign that will focus on its call for reform of how medical devices are priced.

The association's CEO Dr Rachel David said the new campaign - ‘More Affordable Health’ - is calling for "urgent changes" to help keep private health insurance more affordable.

The recent 2021-22 Budget included $23.1 million over four years from 2021-22 (and $2.1 million per year ongoing) to "modernise and improve the administration of the Prostheses List".

The medical device sector has expressed concern over the potential impact of reform on choice and access to new technologies.

"Reform to the way these devices are priced on the Prostheses List would deliver savings to consumers who are currently paying at least 30 per cent more for the same medical devices used in surgeries compared to other countries, such as New Zealand and the UK," said Private Healthcare Australia in a statement.

Dr David continued, “Today, we are launching our campaign to make the positive case for reform of the Prostheses List to keep health insurance more affordable. The campaign is designed to raise awareness of both the issue and the Government’s reform measures announced in the 2021-22 Federal Budget.

“Changes to the way medical devices are priced will not only deliver a fairer healthcare system, but it will also help to make health insurance more affordable for the 14 million Australians who choose to have it for security and peace of mind.

“It is absurd in Australia that we are paying at least 30 per cent more than other countries for the exact same medical devices. Why should Australians be paying more than $4000 for a hip replacement stem when consumers in the UK and New Zealand are paying $1,800?

“The current pricing system for medical devices keeps health insurance premiums high for Australian consumers and delivers huge profits to multinational companies.

“In the current environment, holding on to private health insurance has never been more important and without change, there is a risk that people will choose to give up their cover as premiums rise. But by changing the way medical devices are priced, we can keep health insurance more affordable and protect Australia’s world-class health system.”