Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt is leading a review of the Private Health Insurance system, continuing the work of previous health minister Sussan Ley.
As part of this ongoing review, Nexus Director Scott Bell was appointed to represent the day hospitals sector as part of a working group of industry stakeholders including private hospital operators, industry groups and health insurers, to advise Minister Hunt and the Health Department.
The group was Chaired by Mr Steve Somogyi, a former member of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority with senior management experience as both hospital operator and health insurer, and Day Hospitals Australia CEO Jane Griffith also represented the day hospitals sector.
The working group was tasked with providing guidance to the Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee (PHMAC) on possible reforms to hospital contracting and default benefit arrangements, with the specific aim of reducing inflationary pressures on premiums and enhancing the attractiveness of private health insurance to Australian consumers. With private health insurance premiums rising an average 4.8% from April, the issue of delivering value for money in health insurance is a hot topic for Australian consumers and was high on the agenda for the working group.
Over a series of working group meetings in February and March, the group discussed a range of current issues as well as potential initiatives to improve fairness and transparency in hospital contracting and default arrangements.
Following a range of submissions from working group members including an analysis of industry-wide data presented by Scott Bell, we are hopeful that the recommendations arising from this working group will support initiatives to strengthen the contracting environment and 2nd Tier arrangements for Day Hospital operators.
The Health Minister is likely to announce initiatives on these issues in the second half of this year.