Teachers Health backs campaign calling for reform of device pricing

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Teachers Health CEO Brad Joyce says the insurer is backing the campaign recently launched by Private Healthcare Australia calling for reform of medical device pricing.

The 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.

Mr Joyce said reform is required to help make private health insurance more affordable.

"The high cost of medical devices used in surgeries is one of the biggest drivers of private health insurance premium increases," he said. "If changes are made to the way these medical devices are priced, then health insurance could be more affordable."

He said that as a not-for-profit Teachers Health supports any measure that can make private health insurance more affordable for members.

"Privately insured Australians pay at least 30 per cent more for the same medical devices compared to other countries," he said.

"Teachers Health paid $66 million in benefits for medical devices in the 2020 financial year, accounting for 11 per cent of the total benefits paid in that year.

"If we can bring these excessive costs down and introduce a fairer pricing system, we can reduce the impact on health insurance premiums," said Mr Joyce.

The Teachers Health boss said the call for what he described as a "fairer pricing system" has the potential to positively impact health fund members.

"The ‘More Affordable Health’ campaign aims to involve our members by raising awareness of the impact high medical device prices have on the cost of health insurance for individuals.

"By bringing members into the conversation, we can have a stronger voice together to push for the well-needed reform of medical device pricing."

Mr Joyce said Teachers Health will pass on any genuine savings it can realise from reform to its members.

"Changes to medical device pricing will not affect the quality or accessibility of devices that doctors can recommend," he added.