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Commonwealth Department of Health: Options to Reduce Pressure on Private Health Insurance Premiums Paper

Published: 2017

This submission responds to an Options paper on reducing pressure on private health insurance premiums by addressing the growth of private patients in public hospitals. HCCA’s feedback comes from consulting with consumers.

We felt that this feedback from one of our consumers summarised our comments well:
I do not see the problem this paper is trying to address. We have a hybrid system in Australia, a product of Government policy over time. There are public patients treated in private hospitals just as there are private patients treated in public hospitals. This is a result of availability of services, issues of access as well as financial imperatives or funders (both governments and private health insurance) as well as services (public and private). In the ACT all public primary joint replacements happen in a private hospital, Calvary John James. And there is a regular flow of patients between the public and private sectors, for example National Capital Private Hospital and Canberra Hospital. And the new private hospital at Bruce will have all women birthing in the public hospital and then transferred to the private hospital for accommodation and follow up care. The amount of money being looked at for saving is a small proportion of the total. The real value lies with careful scrutiny of ancillary services (extra’s cover) and in providing adequate support for those people with significant health issues requiring regular access to medical care, including hospitalisation”.

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