Private insurers launch 'Private Health Public Benefit'

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Private Healthcare Australia has officially launched Private Health Public Benefit, a campaign designed to promote private health insurance, particularly among young Australians.

The campaign is encouraging Australians to share their stories about private health.  

"As you know there are many good news stories about the care provided in the private sector, about hospitals, health funds and medical practitioners supporting patients above and beyond what is expected, however in the current sea of coordinated complaint seeking surveys and political propaganda, these stories are rarely heard," said Private Healthcare Australia CEO, Dr Rachel David.

"Private Health Public Benefit is designed to provide some balance to the debate, demonstrate the value of private health and promote the many positive features of private system."

Reforms announced by health minister Greg Hunt aimed at reducing upward pressure on premiums, resulting in the lowest average premium rise in 17 years, have been met with criticism and what Private Healthcare Australia believes is a systematic attempt to discourage young people taking out private health insurance.

Labor subsequently announced that, if elected, it will cap annual increases at two percent for two years and direct the Productivity Commission to conduct an inquiry into the sector.

Last week it launched an online survey soliciting consumer feedback on private health insurance following the release of a report from the Consumers Health Forum.

The Private Healthcare Australia says its campaign aims to counter the negativity, particularly aimed at younger Australians, and encourage them to tell their positive story.

"Research consistently shows that 80% of people who use their PHI value it and want to keep it. Affordability of PHI is the number one concern for members and stakeholders are working together through the PHI reforms to address this, but fueled by fake news, there is a growing misunderstanding about the importance of the private sector," continued Dr David.

"Private Health Public Benefit will provide accurate information and address the myths being circulated by opponents of private health. The delivery of the campaign will be primarily online, including a dedicated website and associated social media channels. Through the website health consumers across different demographics will be asked to provide testimonials on their own experiences with private health and tell their stories about a private hospital, health fund or health professional that went the extra mile to help them and provide excellent care and service."

The campaign will include a short-story competition based on their experience of private healthcare, with winners selected by a judging panel comprised of representatives from private health insurers, healthcare professionals and private hospitals.