Private health insurers' profits grow while rebates shrink

Consumers receiving advice regarding their premium increases for private health insurance might want to also read the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority’s latest report on private health insurers’ profits released earlier this week.

The release of the quarterly private health insurance statistics reveals that private health insurers returned pretax profits of 14% in 2017. That’s $1.8 billion.

“As the Shadow Minister for Health, Catherine King stated on Tuesday, this is a heavily subsidised industry with more than 6 billion dollars of taxpayers’ money going to private health insurance rebates each year and the status quo cannot continue” said Australian Dental Association (ADA) President Dr Hugo Sachs.

“The same cannot be said for rebates. Dental benefits represent around 53% of all rebates paid under general treatment or ‘extras’ policies. The data demonstrates that the average rebate paid per dental service in 2015 was $65 then actually dropped by 3.1% to $63 in 2016 and has only come back to $65 per dental service according to the latest APRA report. That’s 2015 rebate levels!”.

Although Minister for Health, Greg Hunt has managed to keep premiums to an average of 4% this year, there has not been a commensurate increase in rebates. The ADA is encouraging consumers to rethink the benefits of paying for a product that lines the pockets of insurers but provides little value to them.

“I don’t have extras cover and I don’t recommend it to my patients. Maybe it’s time for a rethink on how to help people pay for dental treatment”.

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