According to the latest figures from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, there has been a 6% decline in payouts for dental, chiropractic, physiotherapy, and optical extras, Herald Sun reported.
Laura Crowden, iSelect Health spokeswoman, said reducing benefits in new policies is a way in which some private health insurers regulate rising costs.
Premiums have increased by 18% over the past three years, and are set for another increase on April 01.
“Rising medical costs and our ageing population have put the funds themselves under increased cost pressures,” Crowden told Herald Sun.
“Funds have been shutting down existing products to new customers, and instead replacing them with new products without specific features, such as no pregnancy cover or excluding psychiatry.”
Medibank, the nation’s largest health fund, said it had been bringing value back into products in the past year, such as improved dental check-up benefits, extending accident coverage to all hospital policies, and unlimited emergency ambulance for all customers, the report said.
Bupa also spoke on the matter saying “our approach has been to include as much cover as possible in our cheaper policies, but with certain restricted benefits.”
Last Friday, Sussan Ley stepped down from her role as health minister after becoming embroiled in a scandal over a taxpayer-funded trip to the Gold Coast where she bought an $800,000 investment property, Herald Sun said.
Lance Northey, spokesman for acting health minister Arthur Sinodinos, said Ley's resignation would not impact discussions on health care premiums or on the gold, silver, and bronze policy, which was designed to simplify health insurance for consumers.
“Decisions on the Ministry are a matter for the Prime Minister,” he told Herald Sun.
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