Survey finds patients believe health insurers are cashing in

PRIVATE health insurers are putting profits before patients, according to a new survey.

The Medical Technology Association of Australia ReachTEL poll shows 77.9% either strongly agree or agree with the statement "private health insurers put profits before patients".

Recent Australian Prudential Regulation Authority data show private health funds managed to boost premium revenues by 6.4% and profit before tax by 8.9% in the year to June.

But reimbursements to their members rose by just 5.3%.

Further, the polling found 69.2% have considered downgrading or dropping their policy in the past 12 months because it does not represent good value for money.

The authority's chief executive Susi Tegen said the poll confirmed that private health insurance did "not provide value for money and put profits before patients".

"We know the health funds have requested cuts, as much as 45%, to the total benefits paid to patients for medical devices."

More alarming is 75.4% of people aged 18-34 years of age have considered downgrading or dropping their policy in the past 12 months.



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