Summary of the second meeting of the Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee, 9 November 2016, Department of Health offices (Sirius Building), Canberra

This page contains information on the Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee – Meeting Summaries

Page last updated: 16 November 2016

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Attendees

Members
Proxies and Secretariat
Dr Jeffrey Harmer, ChairAndrea Kunca, Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA)
Marcus Dripps, Allied Health Professions AustraliaMark Booth, Department of Health (ex officio proxy)
Anne Trimmer, Australian Medical AssociationCharles Maskell-Knight, Secretariat
Michael Roff, Australian Private Hospitals AssociationSusan Azmi, Secretariat
Toby Hall, Catholic Health AustraliaTracey Duffy, Secretariat
Tony Lawson, Consumers Health ForumMitch Docking, Secretariat (Item 2)
Ian Yates, COTA AustraliaJosh Shanahan, Secretariat (Item 2)
Jane Griffiths, Day Hospitals AustraliaAnna Smith, Secretariat (Items 3 and 6)
Matthew Koce, hirmaaPeta McElgunn, Secretariat (Item 3)
Dr Rachel David, Private Healthcare Australia (PHA)Vanessa Sheehan, Secretariat (Items 4 and 5)
Philip Truskett AM, Royal Australian College of Surgeons (RACS)

Apologies

Garry Richardson, Expert member
Mark Cormack, Department of Health (ex officio)

1. Welcome, apologies and introductions

The Chair noted apologies for this meeting.

2. Product design

  • The Committee considered a product design issues paper prepared by the Secretariat.
  • The Committee agreed to a set of assessment criteria for evaluating potential product design and product categorisation approaches.
  • The Committee discussed minimum product requirements, including a process for determining the services covered and whether ‘sub-bronze’ products should be allowed. It also considered the number of product tiers to be included in the classification system.
  • The Committee considered the services that could be included within the minimum (or ‘Bronze’) product. The Committee agreed that further analysis and actuarial modelling is required to understand the cost impact on premiums of including certain services in the base-tier product.
  • The Committee agreed that the Department would obtain actuarial support to analyse and model the impact of different product design and categorisation approaches on premiums and private health insurance membership.
  • The Committee discussed whether new products have the potential to change incentives for insurers to contract with providers.
  • The Committee noted that the development of standardised clinical product terminology and definitions would be undertaken by a Clinical Terminology working group in parallel with the Committee’s work on product design.
  • The Committee considered the feasibility of applying a new product categorisation approach to general treatment products. The Committee discussed issues including improving and standardising information for consumers on benefit levels and the coverage and terminology used for general treatment services such as dental treatment.
  • The Committee agreed that further consideration is required to determine the most appropriate approach to general treatment.
3. Improved value for rural consumers
  • The Committee considered a rural issues paper prepared by the Secretariat. The paper provided background information and potential options for reform.
  • Ms Griffiths and Mr Koce delivered presentations outlining the views of Day Hospitals Australia and hirmaa on the issue. The Consumers Health Forum also provided the Committee with a short paper outlining key issues for rural and regional consumers.
  • The Committee considered the options presented in the paper and agreed that options should be assessed in terms of their impact on access and affordability.
  • The Committee agreed that the Secretariat would revise the paper for the December workshop with rural and remote stakeholders.
4. Contracting, minimum and second-tier benefits
  • The Committee considered a contracting and default benefits issues paper prepared by the Secretariat. The paper provided background on current private health insurance hospital contracting, Commonwealth-regulated minimum (basic) and second-tier default arrangements, stakeholder views, and potential options for reform.
  • Committee members provided their views on contracting and second-tier default arrangements, and discussed the merit of options in the paper.
  • Members agreed to provide the Secretariat with nominations for a working group to further consider issues around contracting and default benefit arrangements. The Secretariat advised that the first meeting of the working group would likely be in February 2017.
5. Private admitted patients in public hospitals
  • The Committee acknowledged that public hospital funding arrangements are an issue for the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), and that any options for regulatory or system reform put forward by the Committee to the Minister for Health could only be considered in that context.
  • The Committee considered an issues paper about private admitted patients in public hospitals prepared by the Secretariat. The paper provided background on private admitted patients in public hospitals, the current payment structure, trends in the number of private patients in public hospitals, stakeholder views and potential options for reform.
  • Committee members discussed the issues and options in the paper. It was generally agreed that this was an important issue with significant cost implications for private health insurance.
  • Noting that reform could only be progressed in the COAG context, the Chair will provide advice to the Minister for Health on the Committee’s views.
6. Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee Working Groups 2016-17
  • The Secretariat undertook to email members to ask for further nominations for working groups.
7. Business and papers for next meeting
The Committee noted that its next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 7 December 2016 (9:30am – 5pm, Canberra).

Please direct any enquiries to PHMAC Secretariat

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