Health insurance tiers to make buying and comparing cover easier for Australians
They also come with better cover for women and discounts for the young.
Australians looking to buy health insurance in the next year can breathe a collective sigh of relief after the government's 16 July 2018 announcement about the new four-tiered health insurance system. The changes will come into effect from 1 April 2019 and will see policies broken into four tiers: Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic.
The announcement is part of a raft of reforms that were announced in October of last year, which aim to make health insurance in Australia more affordable and easier to understand.
The changes will provide consumers with a simple approach to health insurance since each tier has to cover certain medical procedures. While you'll have to wait until early 2019 to find out which policies fall into what categories, it's a step towards making the comparison of health insurance products a simple process.
“This new system marks a major improvement to how consumers choose and use their private health insurance,” CEO of Private Healthcare Australia (PHA) Dr Rachel David said in a statement.
One of the other reforms aimed at demystifying health insurance will see funds forced to provide members with a one-page informational sheet explaining what is and what is not covered by the policy. In addition to this, there will be a mandated standardisation of clinical categories along with standard terms for medical treatments.
Better cover for women
The reforms also mean better cover for women.
"In particular this new system will improve policy coverage for women, including gynaecological services, ovarian and breast cancer treatment and breast reconstruction," Minister for Health Greg Hunt said in a statement.
"There's been a disparity in the past between coverage of men and women for different types of cancers. So, it's another important day for cancer treatment for women in relation to gynaecological cancers and breast cancers. They will, for the first time, be mandated across the bronze and all other coverage," Minister Hunt said at a doorstop in Melbourne.
Discounts for those under 30
As part of the affordability reforms, the government will also be offering those between the ages of 18 to 29 the ability to access discounted health insurance, which will hopefully offset Australia's age imbalance for those with private health coverage.
"My job is to make sure that the facts are very clear and the facts are that we're bringing down the cost of private health insurance by up to 10 per cent with discounts for young people," Hunt said.
The discount will increase by 2% each year (up to a maximum of 10%) and remain in place until they are 40 years old.
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