Private health insurance

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The most common reason for choosing private hospitals is shorter waits for elective surgery. Richard Lyons/Shutterstock

What are better, public or private hospitals?

Around a quarter of people with private health insurance still choose to use the public system. Why?
Ancillary cover, otherwise known as ‘extras’, includes the likes of dental, physiotherapy, optical care and natural therapies. Karolina Kabat/Flickr

Should taxpayers subsidise extras for private health insurance holders?

Removing subsidies for the 50% with private health insurance is politically unpalatable. But scrapping rebates for ancillary services can be a good place to start.
Medicare exists to ensure all Australians have fair and equal access to health care regardless of risk factors. Private health insurers don’t necessarily have the same objective. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Why bother trying to make private health insurers do what Medicare does?

A new survey, which is part of a widespread government consultation on private health insurance, has caused a stir by suggesting health insurers might be able to set premiums based on health risk factors…
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…

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