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Health insurers want to offer financial relief

  • April 14 2020
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Invest

Health insurers want to offer financial relief

By Grace Ormsby
April 14 2020

A number of private health insurers will be co-operating to better protect policyholders impacted by COVID-19 by way of broader insurance coverage and financial relief for impacted customers.

Health insurers want to offer financial relief

Health insurers want to offer financial relief

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  • April 14 2020
  • Share

A number of private health insurers will be co-operating to better protect policyholders impacted by COVID-19 by way of broader insurance coverage and financial relief for impacted customers.

Health insurers want to offer financial relief

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has granted interim authorisation to a number of insurers to do so, after it received an application from Private Healthcare Australia (PHA) Members Health Fund Alliance and members of both groups.

PHA is the Australian private health insurance industry’s peak representative body, representing 24 registered funds. Members include: Australian Unity, BUPA Australia, CUA Health, Defence Health, HBF Health, HCF, Medibank Private, nib and Teachers Health fund.

While the interim authorisation is “conditional” on details being provided to the ACCC in advance, the watchdog has said it will see insurance coverage broadened to include COVID-19 treatment, telehealth consultations and medical treatment provided at home.

ACCC chair Rod Sims commented that the provision of financial relief for policyholders during the pandemic “is an important and welcome measure”.

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“We are also pleased to see moves to cover telehealth consultations so that policyholders can still safely consult health professionals.”

The interim authorisation excludes agreements to increase premiums and specifies that any agreements that are reached must terminate when authorisation is no longer given.

Mr Sims said this is because of the watchdog’s concern that “there is a risk that some of the proposed arrangements may have a long-term anticompetitive effect, especially as this authorisation covers a majority of private health insurers”.

“We have imposed conditions on this authorisation to help minimise this risk by preventing insurers from coordinating to increase premiums, and ensuring agreements entered into under the authorisation cannot last longer than necessary because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he outlined.

Health insurers want to offer financial relief
Health insurers want to offer financial relief
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About the author

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Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

About the author

Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

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