Australian doctors have declared private medicine is “under siege”, and are pushing the Federal Government to make “junk” healthcare policies illegal, ABC News reports.
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) believes the policies, which do not cover treatment for many illnesses, are ripping people off.
AMA president Michael Gannon called for the law to be changed to ensure all policies contain a minimum level of cover.
“We’ve a proliferation of junk policies which are worth nothing more than the paper they’re written on, and are purely designed so people avoid the tax penalty,” he said.
“The Government has the power to legislate — to make sure that [the policies] are worthwhile for people who take them out.”
The AMA is pushing a plan to streamline thousands of private health insurance policies into simple gold, silver and bronze categories — so people know what they are paying for.
The proposal is before a Government advisory committee, which is due to report by the end of the year.
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But Dr Gannon said change was needed urgently.
“Private medicine is under siege and, in many ways, that’s because, very quickly, the community is losing faith with their private health insurance, which underpins most visits to private hospitals,” he said.
“And we seem to be seeing an orchestrated campaign by the insurers — an industry which is increasingly a for-profit industry — to deflect the blame from the real problems.
“And the real problems are that patients are getting sick and tired of finding out when they’re sick that their insurance isn’t good enough.”
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