MTAA calls for National Audit Office to inspect Private Health Insurance books

Today during a Senate Inquiry into value and affordability of private health insurance and out-of-pocket medical costs the Medical Technology of Australia (MTAA) called on the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) to be given the power to audit the books of insurers to ensure medical device price savings are passed onto consumers.

The Private Health Insurance industry is the beneficiary of $6 billion dollars in taxpayer subsidies every year and this spending is the 17th largest Government spending program in the Federal budget.

This year, premiums increased by an average of 4.8% and with the recent cuts provided by our industry, Private Health Insurance industry estimates every $200m in cuts to medical devices should shave 1% off next year’s premium rises.

But this was immediately rejected by the big health fund CEO’s, with BUPA questioning a 3.9% increase as “maybe a bit of stretch….” This was seconded by NIB chief executive who said price cuts to the Prostheses List would drive down the average annual premium increase to the “low end of 4%”.

The evidence of increasing profits of Private Health Insurers would indicate they should do some belt tightening of their own to keep premium growth at CPI.

 

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

“Today we’re calling on the Australian National Audit Office to be given the power to audit the books of insurers to ensure medical device price savings are passed onto consumers.

“It’s critically important every cent of savings is directly passed through to their 13.5 million customers.

“This is an industry that receives $6 billion in taxpayer handouts, equivalent to 26% of their total revenue. Independent review by the Australian National Audit Office would be entirely appropriate and would ensure full transparency by private health insurers.

“Under the recently announced Agreement between MTAA and the Government, and following on from cuts announced earlier this year, private health insurers will save $1.5 billion in payments for medical devices over the next four years.

“Given the scale of the savings they are receiving we think no more than a CPI increase next year is reasonable.”