Private Health Insurers Must Put Patients Before Profits

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It has been revealed that private health insurers have once again turned a profit during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the quarterly Private Health Insurance Report released by the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) today private health insurers have increased their revenue by $129 million whilst the amount actually paid back to members has decreased by over $1.125 billion over the last 12 months.

Despite turning a half a billion dollar profit in the midst of a global pandemic[1], private health insurers used today’s announcement to call on the Government to prop them up. This comes at a time when the insurance companies are only paying 89 cents in the dollar back to policy holders, and young people are questioning the value of their policies.

The MedTech industry is concerned about the future of private healthcare. Insurers are pocketing quick profits rather than focusing on the long term sustainability of the industry. Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA) signed an agreement with Health Minister, the Hon Greg Hunt MP to save Aussie families $1.1 billion and protect choice for privately insured Australians. Despite the enormous financial pressures being faced by the MedTech industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic the industry and the Minister continue to honour this agreement.

This agreement has led to a total decline in the amount insurers paid for innovative MedTech devices on the Prostheses List. The latest APRA data[2] shows that insurers have not had to pay a single extra cent for medical devices over the 12 months prior. MTAA’s agreement with the Hon Greg Hunt MP, continues to save insurers money, and it is now time they pass this on to Aussie families.

It’s now time for insurers to closely look at their own behaviour. Insurers must stop trying to squeeze profits out of our private health system and stop calling on the Government for a handout whilst continuing to make profits. Medical Technology Association of Australia CEO, Ian Burgess, has called on private health insurers to offer Aussie families a saving, and stop putting profit before patients.

“MTAA’s 2017 Agreement with Health Minister, the Hon Greg Hunt MP has locked in at least $1.1 billion savings for the Australian public, now it’s up to insurers to dig into their own profits and offer savings to the Australian people. Insurers must stop choosing profit over patients.” Mr Burgess said.

“As doctors, nurses, MedTech innovators and other essential workers have pulled together to make ventilators, provide COVID-19 testing, and get Australia through the pandemic, struggling Australian families are rightly asking why private health profiteers are still raking in windfall profits”

[1] This does not include an additional $1.7 billion of profit insurers have put aside for potential future expenses.