Health Minister confirms protheses reforms are working

MTAA has welcomed Health Minister Greg Hunt’s reaffirmation that the reforms to the cost of prostheses have helped to keep private health insurance premiums lower.

Reforms to medical device pricing were implemented as part of the Agreement between MTAA and the Government in October 2017.

Health Minister Greg Hunt told the Australian Financial Review today that: 

We have reduced the cost of prostheses to patients and private health insurers by up to 20 per cent for some classes of medical devices…These cost reductions have helped to keep the average premium changes in 2019 to the lowest level in 18 years.

Under the government’s agreement with the MTAA, price reductions were applied to medical devices listed on the Prostheses List in 2018 and again in 2019. An additional round of cost reductions will apply from 1 February 2020 to continue to reduce costs to private health insurers and patients.[1]

“The devices industry was the sole contributor to lower private health insurance premium increases both in 2017 and in 2018,” said MTAA CEO Ian Burgess today.

“MTAA’s Agreement with the Government is on track to exceed $1.1 billion in expected savings.

“Medical devices make up less than 10 per cent of private health insurance benefits, yet the insurers continue to spread misinformation around the causes of higher than expected premium increases.

“Access to modern life-saving technology through the Prostheses List is a key part of the value proposition of private health insurance. 

“Patient and clinician choice is a key part of the value proposition of private health insurance, one that risks being eroded by the false claims made by insurers about the cost of devices.

“The medical technology industry believes access to a full range of medical technology is one of the key benefits of having private health insurance and we’re committed to helping ensure all Australians lead healthier and more productive lives,” Mr Burgess concluded.