Health insurance increases ahead

Medical Device Industry Response to Premium Increases

Today the Minister for Health, The Hon Greg Hunt MP, announced the approval of private health insurance (PHI) companies increasing premiums that will take affect from 1 April 2017.

With today’s announcement the PHI industry on average has increased premiums by 50.83% since 2009 but continues to blame the medical device industry for premium pressures.

Recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) consumer price index (CPI) figures show since December 2009 medical device inflation has increased by a mere 2.3%.

The real cost pressures on premiums comes from medical and hospital services which have increased by 55.1% since 2009.

Based on ABS figures medical and hospital services has seen the fourth largest CPI increase since 2009, with only tobacco, childcare and electricity prices seeing larger increases over the same period.

Data from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) shows the average benefit growth for medical devices between 2010 and 2015 was zero percent.

Ian Burgess, Chief Executive of the Medical Technology Association of Australia said:

“We’ve been, and remain, fully supportive of the Government’s efforts to achieve lasting and meaningful fact based reform for medical device benefits.

“Our industry accounts for 14 cents in every dollar paid in reimbursements by private health insurers under their hospital cover policies.

“If we’re going to be serious about helping deliver a sustainable and transparent healthcare system it is critical that the reform process examines the other 86 cents that’s driving up premiums.

“MTAA believes the expanded Prostheses List Advisory Committee and new Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee announced by the Government working with all stakeholders is the right vehicle to progress this work to deliver long-term evidence based reform.

“MTAA supports transparency and evidence-based reform and will work with Government and stakeholders to ensure Australians have access to the latest medical technologies.”

Read full media release here