Catholic Health welcomes insurance reforms

Catholic Health Australia has welcomed yesterday's announcement by the Federal Government of plans to extend private health insurance cover beyond hospital services.

Under the plan, patients will be able to claim from their health insurer for out-of-hospital services as well as chronic care management for conditions such as diabetes and asthma.

The plan also includes the privatisation of Australia's biggest health fund, Medibank Private.

Speaking after yesterday's announcement, Catholic Health Australia head Francis Sullivan said: "these changes hold the promise of alleviating costs for out of hospital patients and on that front alone deserve support."

"Modern health care delivery involves more than just acute health services and these days requires an insurance product to carry the costs for patients wherever they receive their treatments."

While approving of the changes, Mr Sullivan warned against health insurance funds using the changes as an excuse to "cut costs at the expense of covering quality care."

"It would be a tragedy to see these changes morphed into a new type of managed care where patients become the least important aspect of the referral and financing system," he said.

"The most immediate concern will be how the government can arrest the rapidly declining growth in benefits for hospital patients whilst at the same time permitting health funds to cover more from the same pool of funds."

Catholic Health said it would seek urgent discussions with the Minister over the detailed implementation of these changes.

Health insurance reforms welcomed (Catholic Health Australia 27/4/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Health Australia
More innovation, greater choice in private health (Tony Abbott Media Release 26/4/06)

Shot in the arm for insurance but insured may feel the prick (Sydney Morning Herald 27/4/06)
Shake-up for medical insurance (The Age 27/4/06)

27 Apr 2006