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The Healthcare sector is a strong pillar to provide sustenance to people of various age groups. Not all the policy framed by the government needs to be serving the nation according to the requirements. The consumers in Australia find the Private Health insurance product tires very complex and unaffordable. The major problem is that people are getting confused and are unsure about the value that the Private Health insurance provides (Department of Health, 2019). There is no conclusive evidence that the product tires provided under the insurance are going to give sufficient returns or not.
The major problem is that people are getting confused and are not sure about the value that the Private Health insurance provides. There is no conclusive evidence that the product tires provided under the insurance are going to give sufficient returns or not.
The new change in the health care policies in Australia creates a lot of confusion in the mind of people especially in the local rural communities of Australia. As now the policy has 38 categories it is very difficult for the rural people to understand the difference between the silver, gold, and bronze policies. For example, a rural man wanted to have chemotherapy which is covered under the bronze policy but the Cancer surgery will be covered under the silver or gold policy. The problem is that chemotherapy is a part of cancer treatment so it will be very difficult for the person to understand under which policy is treatment will fall (Stoove, 2019).
If in NSW rural community, a woman is suffering from eye disease and wanted to coverage under the bronze category but then later she will come to know that only a certain part of services related to the eye are covered under the bronze policy and rest are covered under the silver policy. This is a classic example to show how the categorization of products under different policies can create unnecessary problems and confusion for the people who are not very literate.
There are various communication concerns associated with the change in the health insurance reforms in Australia. It must be noted that the federal government had created a particular fact sheet that is formulated to explain the treatments to the people which is inclusive of all kinds of policies. However, the confusion is not addressed regarding the categories and does not explain what has to be included in any plus policies. Thus it is very difficult for the people living in the local communities to get an idea of what will be covered under the different categories policy by the federal government in Australia.
In rural areas, it can be seen that people still believe in the practice of natural Health Care remedies and yoga. However, in the present Health insurance amendment, no such benefits of natural therapies are included in the policy, which is again a problem for the rural communities as most of them cannot be offered the expensive policies in Australia. Also one of the major problems is that the premiums are rising and going down due to this new tiered system in Australia (Consumers Health Forum of Australia, 2019). The premiums in the recent policy have dramatically risen faster compared to the average earning of a person living in a rural community.
It was found that the consumers, especially in the rural areas, are finding the entire new amended Private Health insurance products very complex as it is becoming very difficult for them to compare one policy from the other. It must be noted that various policies are available in a particular jurisdiction at a particular time. The standard information statements had provided the study which showed that in 376 policies, 20000 variations can be found. According to the Australian medical association, the bewildering numbers of policy are creating unnecessary problems for the people who are not well educated.
The main problem is the removal of natural therapies. In 2017 October, a decision was taken to remove the health insurance coverage which is inclusive of 18 different types of natural therapies like naturopathy, Pilates, yoga, and much more. This decision was only based upon the review conducted in the year 2015 by the National Health and Medical Research Council, which says that these therapies are not effective enough (Galea, 2002). However, the practitioners were of the opposite view and were not convinced of their findings.
However, it must be noted that the discount for health insurance is only up to 10% and which is available only to the people who are under the age of 30 years (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018). Not all policies but only a few are covering the travel and accommodation for the local communities which require medical care. When on April 1st, the changes in the health insurance reform were introduced it was realized after the analysis of an independent server that around 1000 representative respondents in the rural community are not sure about how these changes will affect them (Kinner, 2019).
A survey conducted by the private healthcare Australia found that 16000 consumers in the local community had a negative attitude towards the Health Care insurance policies of Australia due to its complexities (Freed, 2017). The survey also concluded that due to the rising health cost and the increasing premium is creating a gap between the medical healthcare and the people who want to get them self-insured under the health care insurance policies in Australia.
It was contended that due to the lack of choice for health care, it is becoming very difficult for the people in the local communities of Australia to decide on the service and treatment they should opt under the healthcare insurance. The rural local communities can't have Health insurance under the silver, bronze, and gold policy and the basic policy does not consist of many services and choices provided to the people. Therefore, the authorities and the stakeholders must provide a specific option in the Private Health insurance for the people who are living in rural and remote areas in Australia.
A tailored policy must be formed according to their requirements. Therefore there is a further need for modifications in the existing policies. Another major issue is that the community rating scheme in the policy which defines the rate of premium to be paid based on age is a risk to the equalization scheme. One segment may feel that they are being discriminated and they are not being provided with the benefits like any other segment.
The current change in the policy provides restrictions upon the private providers which must be reduced in this policy. So far as any personal healthcare insurance is concerned, the major problem revolves around affordability especially in the rural and remote local communities of Australia. Therefore, it is very necessary that proper modelling must be incorporated which will entirely focus upon the affordability by mainly targeting a particular segment living in the rural areas as they also deserve to get insured under the health insurance. The Medicare benefits for the in-hospital treatment must be increased so that this can help in reducing the pocket expenses for the local communities. There is no loss in the implementation of the reform but there are some modifications required in the amended policy.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2018). Australia's Health 2018. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/fe037cf1-0cd0-4663-a8c0-67cd09b1f30c/aihw-aus-222.pdf.aspx?inline=true
Consumers Health Forum of Australia. (2019). Consumer comment from CHF Private Health Insurance Survey report. Retrieved from: https://chf.org.au/publications/reports
Department of Health, (2019). Improved Models of Care Working Group of the Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee – Terms of Reference. Retrieved from http://www.health.gov.
Freed, L. (2017). Variation in outpatient consultant physician fees in Australia by specialty and state and territory. Medical journal of Australia, 20(4), 176–80
Galea, S. (2002). Social determinants and the health of drug users: Socioeconomic status, homelessness and incarceration. Public Health Reports, 1(17), 135-S45.
Kinner, S. (2019). Striking subgroup differences in substance related mortality after release from prison. Medical journal of Australia, 10 (10):1676-83.
Stoove, M. (2019). Salvaging a prison needle and syringe program trial in Australia requires leadership and respect for evidence. The Medical journal of Australia, 23(8), 319-20.
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