Funding for private patients in public hospitals

The Australian Government Department of Health has released a paper Options to reduce pressure on private health insurance premiums by addressing the growth of private patients in public hospitals for public consultation.

Australia, with its mixed public and private health model, spends slightly less than the OECD average on healthcare but achieves better than average health outcomes. The private healthcare system is underpinned by private health insurance which provides patients with choice and timely access to critical services, alleviating pressures on state public hospitals systems, while at the same time providing the basis for a significant industry and employment sector.

A healthy and stable private health insurance system used by 13.5 million Australians is essential for the stability of Australia’s overall health care system. Since 2011 private health insurance premiums per policy have increased annually by between 4.75 and 6.25 per cent, with a total increase of 46 per cent to April 2017. Average annual premiums for a family have increased from $3,670 to $4,590 between 2010-11 and 2015-16. Premium growth is primarily driven by growth in hospital benefits. Growth in hospital benefits has been driven by a combination of increased use of services and increased prices, as shown in the following table

The government is seeking written submissions from any interested party. Written submissions can also be made directly to [email protected] by 15 September 2017.

If you would like to view the paper, please visit the Department of Health consultation page.

 

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