Suzanne O'Callaghan is HFA Policy Research and Education Manager
How does the current situation with private health insurance in Australia impact on the bleeding disorders community? This might seem a strange question, seeing that people with bleeding disorders receive most of their care for their bleeding disorder through the public health system, but in fact this highlights some of the complexities for our community.
HFA regularly makes submissions to government when there are issues that affect people with bleeding disorders. In a broad area, such as the current Australian government inquiry into private health insurance, HFA will liaise closely and share information with the Consumers Health Forum, both as a member organisation and because of their expertise. At the same time, it is very important to know what specific concerns there are directly from community members and HFA ran a community survey on private health insurance in July 2017.
In a short timeframe of 10 days HFA had received 70 survey responses – an indication of how strongly people felt about this issue. Many used the private health system for some aspect of their health care – as a private patient in a public hospital, or to manage health issues not related to their bleeding disorder, or for extras such as optometry, hearing aids, dentistry, physiotherapy, etc. They were very concerned that the premiums for private health insurance were becoming unaffordable, even for those on middle incomes, while the benefits were decreasing sharply. Others commented that they had private health insurance for tax purposes but were unsure of its value to them otherwise as benefits were poor and they were largely required to use the public health system because of their bleeding disorder.
These survey comments were immensely valuable and formed the backbone of the HFA submission to the Inquiry. Our thanks to all those who completed the survey. If you would like to read the HFA submission, you can find it on the Inquiry Submission web page – submission number 50 on http://tinyurl.com/privatehealth-sub. The Inquiry is due to report in late November 2017.
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