The government has launched an online survey of consumers’ expectations of health insurance in response to half a million people scrapping or downgrading their health insurance over the last year.
Health minister Sussan Ley said Australians were paying too much for health insurance that did not deliver them much value.
“Everywhere I go, consumers, patients, private health insurers, doctors, private hospitals are all telling me that their needs are not being met by the current rules and regulations and the circumstances of private health insurance,” Ms Ley told reporters.
“This is something we need to fix.”
The survey, which will run for four weeks, will ask consumers a range of questions including if they think their premium should be determined by smoking status, age, gender or “health risk factors”.
“We’re not afraid of asking tough questions,’’ Ms Ley said.
“I see this very much as the future, the future of the next generation and we know that encouraging prevention is just a whole lot better than insuring against disease when it strikes even though no-one knows when that might happen.
“I’m talking about incentives, not exclusions. People who have private health insurance now, they can be reassured that we won’t be changing the way we look after them.”