Private health insurance

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The government is effectively undermining the power of Medicare as a single payer and the role of Medicare as a universal provider. Peter Boyle/AAP

The debate we’re yet to have about private health insurance

In the final instalment of our series, Lesley Russell asks whether Australians need private health insurance, and what a two-tiered systems means for quality, access and equity.
High costs can keep some patients from seeing a doctor until its too late. VILevi/Shutterstock

The Affordable Care Act is another way to ration health care

The Affordable Care Act has enabled millions of previously uninsured people to obtain health insurance at reasonably low rates and has fixed some of the most vexing – and unfair – peculiarities in the…
Several private health insurers are trailing schemes to prevent their members' health deteriorating. DIBP images

Keeping people healthy is good for insurers' bottom line

Australia’s population is in the midst of considerable demographic change, with a proportional rise in older age groups. Medical successes can now save the lives of those who would have died from illnesses…
Investors who remember former floats of government entities might be excited by the prospect of a Medibank Private IPO. Dean Lewins/AAP

Medibank Private IPO: no sure thing for investors

The proposed sale of Medibank Private is not popular, but as I wrote last year, and as Finance Minister Mathias Cormann points out, it’s hard to find public policy grounds to justify ongoing public ownership…
Some insurers are testing opportunities to expand their involvement in primary care. AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

Balancing public and private as health insurers move into primary care

Prompted by the government’s Commission of Audit, health policy analysts have spent the first weeks of the year vigorously debating ways to rein in Australia’s rising health budget and to make the system…
Some registered professions are being excluded from rebates for services they can provide. Image from

Private health insurance rebates restrict consumer choice

The pre-Christmas announcement that private health insurance premiums will rise by an average of 6.2% in 2014 has raised concerns about affordability. But while consumers aren’t expected to drop their…
Countries relying on private health insurance, such as the United States, pay far more for health care. Kate Ter Haar

Six reasons why Australia needs a single national health insurer

We have come to see private health insurance as an essential part of the national health funding mix, but it’s actually quite a costly way to fund health care. A well-designed system with a single national…
There’s evidence that people in the highest socioeconomic groups are given priority for both urgent and non-urgent procedures in NSW public hospitals. Ralf Heß/Flickr

Being poor in NSW means a longer wait to get into hospital

Australia’s public health system is ostensibly based on the notion of equity of access. But research recently published by my colleagues and I shows this is not the case in New South Wales public hospitals…
The loading paid by people over the age of 30 who are insuring for the first time no longer attracts a government rebate. LUKAS COCH/AAP

Things you should know about private health insurance rebates

The government will no longer refund 30% of the cost of the loading paid by people who take out private health insurance after the age of 30. The removal of the rebate from the lifetime health cover loading…
Key health policy issues that need to be addressed include co-payments, private health insurance and resource allocation. AAP/Alan Porritt

Clear thinking needed on election health priorities

There was a time when health policy involved intense ideological conflict along partisan lines. In the 1940s, the Chifley government fought all the way to a constitutional referendum to introduce subsidies…
Predictions that people will leave private health insurance are unlikely to come true. AAP

Private health insurance means test passes – what now?

The government finally got its bill on means-testing private health insurance rebates for high-income households through the House of Representatives this morning. Fortunately, the dire predictions about…

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