Medical device price revamp highlights need for wider shake-up

Consumers stand to benefit significantly if health funds pass on to their members savings generated by reform to the inflated pricing of medical devices, the Consumers Health Forum said today.

“We welcome the Government’s planned reforms of prosthesis pricing to end a system which has generated such inflated prices. The fact that the move is only happening now in the shadow of the Government’s review of health insurance is yet further evidence of the need for thorough shake-up of private health insurance,” the CEO of CHF, Leanne Wells, said.

“This reform should lower increases in premiums and end the unacceptable state of affairs where private providers are charging up to five times more for medical devices than what public hospitals pay for exactly the same device.

“We would need it guaranteed that the lower prices will be fully passed on to the consumer in the form of lower premiums.

“The reforms should not stop at prosthesis pricing. For more than a decade consumers have battled with annual above-inflation premium rises charged by an industry which benefits from Government subsidies now topping $6 billion a year.

“That’s why the Consumers Health Forum has proposed that the Government deploy the rebate as a means of improving health insurance for the benefit of members. Under the CHF plan, the rebate would only be available for those policies which meet standardised criteria in terms of coverage, simplicity and comparability.

“We need to end the current mind-numbing process confronting consumers when they come to choose their health policy. Once consumers can compare apples with apples, we should see significant improvement in real competition among health funds.


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