Aussies suffering major health insurance headache

distressed man with head in hands

One major Australian health insurer has highlighted significant unresolved issues in the industry, including rising unaffordability and confusion over costs.

HCF managing director Shaun Larkin says Australians are still oblivious about health insurance.

“We know that the private health insurance industry is complex and people are seeking greater clarity,” Mr Larkin told Nest Egg.

As many as one in five Australians are not made fully aware of their condition post-hospital departure, HCF’s analysis shows.

“Our data shows 19 per cent of patients didn’t receive information in writing about symptoms or health problems to look out for after leaving the hospital, [which] could potentially lead to re-admission due to side effects and additional care required at home,” Mr Larkin said.

“We know that as an industry we need to provide better access to information that clearly outlines what members can expect from their policy, related claims and benefits, and doing so in a way that is jargon-free, simple, and practical.”

An area that requires clarity is cost transparency, with many Australians left in shock when they receive the bill.

“It’s this information that we know is often difficult to obtain and adds to the confusion that people sometimes experience with hospital stays,” Mr Larkin said.

“We encourage people to seek information about their procedure from a clinical point of view as well as obviously considering the costs and potential out of pocket expenses.”

To that end, HCF is launching new informational tools to show much private hospital patients can expect to pay on average, providing “a more complete picture of the costs associated with medical and surgical procedures.”

“It breaks down how much of the total cost is paid by HCF, Medicare and the member. It also shows a breakdown of key costs for a procedure including the surgeon, pathology, anaesthetist and other specialists,” Mr Larkin said.

“We encourage people to do their research around procedures and to explore their policy and their fund’s no-gap or known-gap arrangements for medical services.”

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