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Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs inquiry into the value and affordability of private health insurance

BCNA has recently made a submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs enquiry into the value and affordability of private health insurance.

Over the years BCNA has heard from our membership that being treated for breast cancer in the private health care system, even with private health insurance, can result in substantial out-of-pocket costs.

BCNA’s submission focussed on:

  • overall high out-of-pocket costs experienced by people with private health insurance
  • co-payments and gap payments
  • standards for informed financial consent for medical practitioners, private health insurance providers and private hospitals
  • private health insurers fee schedules
  • confusion around levels of cover
  • private health insurance cover for radiotherapy treatment
  • a proposal for a trauma insurance benefit.

BCNA recommended in its submission that:

  1. That private health insurers increase the number of health practitioners with whom they have a ‘no gap’ arrangement to allow for more choice and fewer gap payments
  2. That private health insurers better promote their lists of ‘no gap’ providers
  3. That health practitioners provide patients having treatment in the private health system with written information about the out-of-pocket costs of any proposed procedures prior to these procedures taking place
  4. That health practitioners advise patients they are entitled to a second opinion if they are unhappy with the out-of-pocket costs quoted to them
  5. That private health insurers are able to provide cover for radiotherapy treatment
  6. That a $5,000 trauma insurance benefit is paid by private health insurers to policyholders diagnosed with cancer to help cover out-of-pocket costs

BCNA is also supportive of other changes that will lead to increased transparency and accountability by the private insurance sector.

It is BCNA’s hope that these changes will help women to be able to make better informed financial decisions for their breast cancer treatment and care and reduce the financial burden of their disease. BCNA looks forward to learning the results of the enquiry.

Download BCNA's submission (PDF, 468 KB)