Medibank, NIB, Bupa, and other health insurers have slashed some benefits, with some policyholders paying higher premiums for less coverage, in response to government reforms to make private health insurance simpler for some 13 million consumers.
Starting April 01, all existing 70,000 private health insurance policies will fall into one of four categories – gold, silver, bronze, and basic.
“One third to one half of health-fund members will be receiving letters indicating some change. There will be inclusions as well as exclusions,” Rachel David, Private Healthcare Australia chief, told News Corp Australia.
Many of the benefits being trimmed relate to natural therapies, with Medibank also slashing some weight loss and fertility treatments, prompted by the government’s withdrawal of the 25% tax rebate.
“Anything which makes private health insurance more expensive or less value for money will continue the exodus from insurance and build up the stress on the public system to the detriment of patients on long-waiting lists,” Tony Bartone, Australian Medical Association president, told News Corp.