Prostheses reform to deliver better value

From 2018 private health insurance premiums could deliver more value after the Federal Government moved to change the way it prices hip and knee replacements.

Recently, Health Minister Greg Hunt ordered a detailed review of medical device pricing. This action comes after an analysis of public and private hospital data by the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority confirmed the government was forcing health funds to pay too much for the devices.

Medical device prices for health funds are set by the government and for a while now the funds have been arguing they are available much cheaper in public hospitals and overseas. In the Australian private hospital setting, prostheses can cost a staggering 300% more than comparable overseas countries.

The analysis has found that inflated medical device prices are adding an average 4.5 per cent to health fund premiums. As well as this analysis, a Senate Inquiry report due out next week is expected to reveal that health fund members are overpaying for devices, which in turn is pushing up their premiums.

Health Minister, Greg Hunt said the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority had confirmed in a new report that better value can be achieved for many of the 11,000 devices currently listed on the Prostheses List.

Queensland Country is committed to delivering great value health insurance products to our Members and welcomes further review of prostheses item pricing. Given the commitment from the Health Minister to private health insurance, there is a reasonable expectation that reductions in price for these medical items will be achieved. We look forward to passing onto Members the savings achieved through this review of prostheses items.

 If you'd like to learn visit the Department of Health to read their lastest press release.