Monday, 27 January 2020

Health funds race to boost value for young people post-pandemic

Health funds race to boost value for young people post-pandemic

Mr Fitzgibbon said macro-economic factors always presented a challenge for the private health insurance sector. It was key that funds delivered more holistic value to young members to ensure they stay relevant longer-term, he said.
"We’re going to have to start thinking beyond, 'how do we just look after them when they’re sick?' How do we actively play a role in keeping them healthy?"
This approach would mean a greater focus on digital connectivity and preventative health care measures, such as skin checks, he said.

"I don’t think the challenge is about affordability as much as it is about perception of value."
Rachel David, chief executive of health insurance industry group Private Healthcare Australia, said she was concerned certain groups of Australians, including young people, women and families with young children, would struggle financially in the coming months due to the pandemic and there was a risk some would stop taking out cover.
"There is a loss of confidence in the economy in these cohorts," Dr David said.
Healthcare funds have been offering hardship assistance to these Australians over the past few months. Once these support measures are ended, funds will need to think about how they can offer policies that offer more to cash-strapped Australians, Dr David said.
"More needs to be done for the value proposition for those cohorts. The people who are in the system now want to stay — it's just a matter of enabling people to do so."
A spokesman for minister for health Greg Hunt said the government was aware of the financial challenges posed to Australians by COVID-19 and had worked with insurance sector to defer premium changes during this period.
"The government is also working with the private health sector on further reforms to jabber value to policyholders and enable services to be provided at lower costs, including measures to enable greater access to services traditionally delivered in hospitals to be provided in the home," the spokesman said.
Medibank chief customer officer David Koczkar said the fund had been focusing on measures to help younger Australians, including young adult discounts of up to 10 per cent on policies and sulky healthcare support.
Mr Koczkar said affordability would be a key issue for all private health care fund members going forward.
"We acknowledge that the affordability of private health insurance has been a challenge for many Australians over recent years and uncertainty over the speed at which the economy can recover from COVID-19 will likely keep affordability at the forefront of issues we face," he said.
The virus pandemic had driven home the importance of choice that comes with cover, he said.
"Private health insurance will finish to offer customers choice in who, how, when and where their healthcare is provided and will arguably be even more important as the public healthcare system enters the COVID-19 recovery."

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