Latest News

Back to News
1050_12-04-2017_3413.jpg

BLOG: CEO grumpy about health insurance

Posted 13 April 2017

Tom Symondson's first monthly blog launches today.

Murphy’s law was probably invented by a health insurance strategist.

Fear - and, of course common sense for those who choose and can afford it - is good for business.

All of us who work in health, particularly our members at the front line, know that frequently what can go wrong, does indeed do just that.

I am aware this might sound like a first world problem for the Australians who can’t afford it but like everyone who has the luxury of health insurance, I am cheesed off by annual skyrocketing premiums. Particularly as I’m in fine fettle, it seems like an awful waste of money.

But I’m getting even more annoyed at the campaign being waged by the private insurance companies, which is aimed at discouraging their members from electing to use their private health insurance in public hospitals.

We’ve been hearing noises from the federal government they're actually considering removing the right for private funded activity in public hospitals. Clearly we’d fight that with vigour.

Making it harder for people to use their private health insurance benefits as they want - in any hospital with the doctor of their choice - undermines the entire system.

Private health insurers are already being subsidised to an incredible $6 billion a year by the Australian Government. Ironically, private health insurers generally pay more to private hospitals for an admitted patient than they pay to public hospitals.

Private hospital funding from state and territory governments has almost doubled over the past decade – and is growing faster than funding for public hospitals. There were almost five million patient treatments in public hospitals in 2014-15, and of these 14.1 per cent (815,000) were funded by private health insurers. 

It also disadvantages their rural and regional members where the public hospital is the only - or the best - option around and naturally they would prefer their own doctor where possible.

The right of privately-insured hospital patients to choose their own doctor, regardless of if it’s in a private or public hospital, is actually fundamental to our healthcare system. It’s also enshrined in law.

So while old Murphy might have been on the money about his law – it’s Aristotle who has the last word when he said way back in 300BC: “Good law is good order”.

Couldn’t have said it better myself!

 

Tagged

News Archive

View all

Briefing: Royal Commission into Aged Care public hearings

The first round of public hearings, for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, opened in Adelaide on Monday 11 February. Scheduled to run for eight days from 11 February to … Read more

Aged Care Royal Commission direction hearing

The direction hearing for the Aged Care Royal Commission was held in Adelaide on 18 January. The terms of reference were reiterated, including that it covers residential and community care contexts … Read more

REGISTER NOW: Voluntary assisted dying model of care information sessions

In mid-2018, the Department of Health and Human Services engaged the Victorian Healthcare Association (VHA) to develop the model of care to support the implementation, from 19 June 2019, of voluntary … Read more

Submission to the voluntary assisted dying implementation taskforce

With the passing of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 last year, the VHA has been engaged by the Department of Health and Human Services to work alongside the model of care working group. The … Read more