Summary of the third meeting of the Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee – Information Provision for Consumers Working Group,
31 March 2017

This page contains the summary for the third meeting of the Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee – Information Provision for Consumers Working Group, 31 March 2017.

Page last updated: 26 April 2017

PDF version: Summary of the third meeting of the Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee – Information Provision for Consumers Working Group (PDF 105 KB)

Attendees

Members  
Susan Parker, Chair Jo Root, Consumers Health Forum
Matt Levey, CHOICE Michael Siwes, iSelect
Jenny Williams, HCF Diane Pavlicevic, GMHBA
Rebecca Lush, HAMBS Ayela Thilo, Bupa
David Salisbury, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Lucy Cheetham, Australian Private Hospitals Association
Dr Robert Herkes, Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care Jodette Kotz, Australian Medical Association
Christopher Zinn, Private Health Insurance Intermediaries Association Michelle Jakubauskas, Australian Securities and Investments Commission
Kylie Jenkins, COTA  
Secretariat  
Charles Maskell-Knight  
Anna Smith Peta McElgunn

Apologies

David McGregor, Private Health Insurance Ombudsman; Anita Mulrooney, hirmaa Marketing Committee; Ron Wilson, Private Health Insurance Code of Conduct Compliance Committee; and Tim Andri, Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

Welcome and apologies

  • The Chair opened the meeting and noted the apologies.
  • Members did not declare any new conflicts of interest.

Update on Clinical Definitions Working Group

  • The Secretariat provided the Working Group with an update on the first meeting of the Clinical Definitions Working Group.

privatehealth.gov.au as a comparator website

  • The Secretariat delivered a presentation on using privatehealth.gov.au as a comparator website. The presentation stepped through an example using the website to compare an individual’s current policy with three other policies based on specific criteria.
  • The Working Group discussed the usefulness of privatehealth.gov.au as a tool for consumers, but noted that it is unrealistic to expect it to single-handedly meet all information needs for all consumers.
  • One member noted that even when information was available online, the majority of their customers preferred to talk through options with a sales representative before purchasing their private health insurance.
  • Members also discussed limitations of the website, such as finite resources and minimal marketing of the site.
  • Members felt that it would be useful to undertake further research into how consumers use privatehealth.gov.au and how they select their private health insurance.

Provision of preferred provider information

  • Lucy Cheetham from the Australian Private Hospitals Association delivered a presentation on preferred provider arrangements, particularly between insurers and contracted hospitals. The presentation covered this issue from the perspective of consumers presenting for hospital admission and finding out there may be out-of-pocket costs.
  • There was discussion among members about the need to remind consumers to check with their health fund before undergoing any in-hospital treatment to identify potential out-of pocket costs.
  • Discussion also touched on whose responsibility it was to have this discussion with patients, with some members questioning whether GPs may be able to play a role.

Standard information template

  • Members also agreed that a revised design of the Standard Information Statement would be helpful to enhance consumer understanding.
  • Most members were of the view that the Standard Information Statement in its current format was not ideal, but there was agreement that a minimum data set is essential for comparing products.
  • Members then discussed what information could be provided in a minimum data set. Members agreed the minimum data set needed to be made available to:
    • privatehealth.gov.au in the standard format for comparison purposes
    • policyholders in their preferred medium.

Report to the Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee (PHMAC)

  • Members discussed and agreed on options for improving information provision for consumers to help finalise the report that will be provided to PHMAC.
  • Options discussed included:
    • implementing a minimum data set to be provided on privatehealth.gov.au for comparison purposes
    • making regulation technologically neutral
    • making it optional to provide consumers with a Private Health Insurance Statement
    • providing the annual Lifetime Health Cover Statement with the premium change letter
    • providing annual reminders about the Lifetime Health Cover loading to people who do not have private health insurance after the age of 31.

Other matters/next steps

  • The Chair advised members that she will provide a report of the Working Group’s deliberations to PHMAC at its meeting in May 2017.
  • The Chair noted this was the final scheduled meeting for the Working Group and thanked members for their contributions.


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