The results of a survey conducted by leading Australian digital health company Healthshare suggest many consumers and GPs remain confused about the 'community rating' policy.
Healthshare provides a range of online platforms to the health sector, including directories of specialists, their participation in gap and known-gap programs, and out-of-pocket costs they charge.
The government recently announced it would extend the opt-out period for the My Health Record by one month. The change was driven by concerns over privacy.
The government also announced it will amend the My Health Record Act to ensure the security and certainty of personal medical records.
Police and government agencies will require a court order to access patient data without their consent and people will be able to withdraw from My Health Record after the opt-out period ends and all information will be deleted.
Under the original plan, some basic information about all records would have been kept for up to 130 years, even if a patient requested its deletion.
Some private health insurers have expressed an interest in gaining access to My Health Record data.
nib CEO Mark Fitzgibbon said enabling access would improve patient care and health outcomes for the insurer's 1.5 million members.
The online survey conducted by Healthshare shows over one-third (34.2 per cent) of the over 1,000 respondents believe allowing their health insurer to access their medical records would impact their premium. Another third (36.2 per cent) are unsure while 29.6 per cent believe it would not impact their premium.
The community rating policy means Australians pay the same private health insurance premium regardless of their personal health circumstances. It means an insurer could not adjust a premium based on an individual's medical records.
The Healthshare survey reveals the issue extends to general practitioners.
Over 30 per cent of GP respondents believe allowing their health insurer to access their medical records would impact their premium. Almost 40 per cent are unsure while 30.4 per cent believe it would not impact their premium.