Senate committee backs reform legislation

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A Senate committee has backed the government's enabling legislation implementing reforms to the private health insurance sector.

Health minister Greg Hunt announced the reforms last year.

The reforms include allowing premium discounts of up to 10 percent for people aged under 30, categorising all policies by level of cover as gold, silver, bronze or basic, strengthening the powers of the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman by giving it the power to inspect and audit health funds, and allowing insurers to cover travel and accommodation costs as part of a hospital product.

While Labor Senators backed passage of the enabling legislation, they called for a review of the reforms once implemented and restated their policy to impose a two percent cap on premium increases for two years.

In a dissenting report, Greens Senators opposed passage of the enabling legislation, calling for the abolition of the Private Health Insurance Rebate.