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Private Hospitals - Purchase of Services and Private Health Insurance

Mrs Armitage (Launceston) asked a question of the Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council -

Further to my Question on Notice of 24 March 2015, with regard to the Government's policy of purchasing services from private hospitals, including from Victoria -

(1) (a) Can the Government advise whether there has been consultation with private health insurers regarding this policy; and

(b) if so, what have been their comments; and

(c) do private health insurers have any concerns?

(2) What advice has been received from insurers regarding the effect of the policy on the rates of private insurance?

Answer from the Leader of Government, Dr Vanessa Goodwin:

(1) (a) No, Tasmania did not specifically consult with private health insurers directly as part of the market sounding process. The department did engage with other jurisdictions with relevant experience and private hospitals with their inherent relationships with private health insurers. However, the Minister for Health as met with a number of insurers during 2015 and none has raised concerns.

(b) None.

(c) No private health insurers have expressed any concerns, and no impacts on levels of private health insurance have been suggested or demonstrated in other states where similar strategies have been implemented.

It is worth restating that proposals to purchase surgeries from private providers are for patients who have waited longer than clinically recommended.

(2) No private health insurers have expressed any views on this issue to the Department of Health and Human Services, despite the wide degree of publicity this Request for Tenders has received. As part of the market sounding it is clear that these types of arrangements are increasingly routine and such partnerships are encouraged and do not negatively affect the value proposition of private health insurance.

(Answer supplied: June 25, 2015)

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