Highlighting the imperative for private health insurance to meet the needs of people in rural and remote Australia

Wednesday, 15 November 2017
Piggy bank with thermometer

On 31 October, 2017 representatives from the National Rural Health Alliance joined colleagues from COTA and Consumers Health Forum of Australia to speak at the second public hearing of the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee on the value and affordability of private health insurance and out-of-pocket medical costs.

Representing the Alliance were Interim CEO, Mark Diamond, and Deputy Chair, John Dennehy.

In his opening statement, Mr Diamond emphasised the need for: expanding the range of benefits for non-hospital based services for privately insured people in rural and remote areas; inclusion of all transport and accommodation costs as a health fund requirement; continued access to public hospital services as a private patient; progressive reductions based on geographic remoteness in the financial incentives and penalties applying to the cost of private health insurance premiums for country people; and the introduction of viability supplements to encourage more private fund investment in country areas, particularly around innovative models of service delivery.

A full transcript of the public hearing, along with supporting documentation can be found on the Senate Reference Committee website.

The Committee is expected to report back on 15 December 2017.