PRIVATE HEALTH: An overwhelming number of respondents to the Federal Government’s private health survey are dissatisfied with their insurance.
PRIVATE HEALTH: An overwhelming number of respondents to the Federal Government’s private health survey are dissatisfied with their insurance.

Government receives ‘phenomenal’ response to private health survey

A MAJORITY of the 40,000 Australians who participated in the Federal Government's private health survey in the past four weeks are dissatisfied with their policies.

The ‘phenomenal’ response has resulted in the Minister for Health Sussan Ley extending the survey deadline until Monday.

Ms Ley said the extension will give more Australians the opportunity to participate in the survey and make their views count.

"To have upwards of 40,000 responses to a voluntary Government survey in just four weeks is unheard of and shows private health insurance really is the new barbeque-stopper," Ms Ley said.

"Consumers are angry and fed up with endless large premium increases are eroding the value of their private health cover and it’s showing in the responses.”

Ms Ley said the responses made clear that the ongoing average premium increases of 5-6% every year were playing a significant role in consumer dissatisfaction and, with some insurers warning they were set to continue for the next decade, action was needed to "break the vicious cycle".

"I acknowledge health costs are going up for insurers, as they are for Government. This is the trade off to the positive benefits of living longer, more prosperous lives," Ms Ley said.

"I am also committed to working with the private health insurance sector to find ways to bring down costs for consumers by reducing unnecessary regulation and looking at more innovative ways to fund health care.

Ahead of approving the next round of premium increases early next year, Ms Ley said she is seeking advice about additional provisions could be applied to the current process to provide the Government "the full picture" and ensure consumers get a better deal on their private health insurance.

"I no longer believe it’s possible for consumers to genuinely shop around for a better deal if they are unhappy with their insurer increasing their premiums," Ms Ley said.

"I’m happy to work with insurers to reduce their costs. But I’m also putting insurers on notice that I will be closely scrutinising their applications for the next round of premium increases based on their full financial position.”

Ms Ley said a total of 38,573 survey responses had been filled out so far, with people able to go direct to the survey start page here: http://survey.orcinternational.com/orc/j10262/surveylinkn.asp?job=Au3000187&id=RANDOM



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