On November 26, 2018, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission or ACCC has published their report which focuses on the issues related to the consumers and stiff competitions in the private health insurance industry. The report which is being covered in the report is from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. The consumers are primarily worried about the expenses related to private health insurance. In the reporting period, the participation rates related to the private health insurance has a witnessed a decline. Apart from this, the report also stated that increased premiums are higher than the growth in the wages as well as inflation. The consumers are worried about the out-of-pocket charges.
The percentage of Australians which were holding the private health insurance has declined in the reporting period on the YoY basis. Because of the increased levels of the prices, a handful of the consumers are getting more inclined towards the policies which are within their budgets and some of the consumers are leaving private health insurance market. However, it seems like the government has been taking initiatives in response to such activities. The report also stated that Australian Government is in the process which focuses on the reforms implementation as they have their focus on removing the problems as well as hurdles in the private health insurance which would make it simple. In the reporting period, the queries or complaints about the private health insurance to the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman (PHIO) declined by 21%. As per the PHIO, the decline was witnessed mainly because of their activities which focused on helping the insurers in regard to the improvement of the procedures for handling the complaints as well as a lower rise in the premiums in 2018 in comparison to the past few years. Additionally, in 2017-18, the number of complaints received by the PHIO came in at second highest level over the past five years.
According to Private Health Insurance Ombudsman, in the reporting period, 82% of the complaints were related to the health insurers. The ACCC had been making policies which would be in the interests of the consumers. They have informed that the crucial changes pertaining to the policies should be communicated to the consumers. As per the ACCC, the private health insurers should work upon the activities which focus on the review of the communications with the consumers so that the information related to the changes in the policy is timely as well as clear. These instructions are primarily needed in regard to the changes related to the health insurance policies as well as premiums which would occur because of the reforms related to the private health insurance which would be becoming effective on April 1, 2019. In the situations like these, proper as well as ample time needs to be allotted to the consumers, so that they can analyze the impact because of the changes and can finally take decisions related to the health insurance coverage.
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