Minister for Health Sussan Ley has welcomed the announcement that some private health insurers will increase the amount of information Australians can access about their health services, as the Turnbull Government continues to lead the push for greater transparency and choice for consumers.
The Turnbull Government made private health insurance a priority during the election, with a key promise to simplify policies, weed out junk products, cut down on fine print and simplify billing arrangements to make it easier for Australians to shop around and reduce bill shock.
Ms Ley said the Whitecoat initiative – a joint venture between NIB, HBF and Bupa – was another step in the right direction towards helping Australians be fully-informed when they shop around for private health insurance, and demonstrated the importance of having insurers at the table in the development of reform.
“Over 13 million Australians are covered by private health insurance – more than half the population – and the Turnbull Government is committed to ensuring that these consumers are getting value for money from their policies,” Ms Ley said.
“We had over 40,000 responses to our public consultation on private health insurance – one of the clear messages coming through about how best to achieve better value for money, was that consumers want more information about their health care options, and this needs to be delivered in an easily understandable way.
“Empowering consumers to make informed decisions and be in control of their health care are key aims of the Turnbull Government’s proposed reforms to private health insurance, and we are already getting on with the job of delivering them.
“Among other things, our reforms will simplify private health insurance by developing easily understood categories of policies (eg. gold, silver, bronze) so that consumers will know what they’re buying and what they are, and are not, covered for.
“Whitecoat is an example of where private health insurers can take a proactive, co-operative approach to making information available to Australians to help better inform their decisions about health care, and I look forward to working with them to deliver the Turnbull Government’s reforms.”
In contrast, Ms Ley said today’s Whitecoat announcement again showed why Labor was so out-of-touch on consumer demands from their private health insurance, with the ALP’s only announcements during the campaign coming in the form of billions of dollars of further cuts.
“Labor’s cuts to private health insurance would have hit $7 billion if they had won the election, with no accompanying plan to improve value for money for consumers,” Ms Ley said.
“Instead Bill Shorten mocked the idea of giving consumers access to simpler, more-transparent information, which would make it easier for them to shop around.
“Labor have made it clear they have given up on the 13 million Australians covered by private health insurance and that they would pay more under a Labor Government.”