Putting members’ health before profit

Consumers stand to benefit from big savings to prostheses

hirmaa, the peak body organisation for 21 not-for-profit, member owned and community based private health funds, has welcomed today’s committment by Health Minister Greg Hunt MP to deliver further savings through reform of prostheses pricing.

Matthew Koce, CEO of hirmaa said, “According to official data for 2014-15, the difference between what consumers were forced to pay for medically implantable devices in private hospitals was $729 million more than would have been the case if public hospital prices were applied. When adding procedures in day hospitals as well as private patients in public hospitals, this figure is projected to approach $1 billion in 2017-18.”

“Consumers stood to benefit by around $130 per hospital policy premium if the same prices for medical devices in public hospitals were applied in the private setting during 2014-15. With the difference expected to approach $1 billion dollars by 2017-18, premiums could be reduced by as much as $180 per hospital policy.”

“The inflated prices being charged by device manufacturers is reprehensible and completely unjustifiable.”

“All the data points to the need for urgent reform of the regulation of medical devices. We need to put an end to this appalling situation where consumers in the private hospital setting are being forced to pay outrageous prices for medical devices such as artificial hips, knees and pacemakers.”

“Prostheses prices are strictly regulated by government and can cost a staggering 300% more in the Australian private hospital setting than in comparable overseas countries.”

“Reform of prostheses is long overdue and we welcome the Minsiter’s commitment to achieving substantive cuts, which will flow on directly to consumers through lower health insurance premiums.”

“The excessive prices being charged for prostheses by some of the big multinationals is deplorable, verging on the exploitative and we are very pleased to see the Health Minister take such a strong and decisive stand in favour of consumers.”

“We regularly hear some of the big foreign headquartered device companies describe the regulation of prostheses in Australia as a license to print money. The profits they make here are so large that they call Australia ‘Treasure Island’.”

“Today’s announcement recognises that the Australian health system cannot continue prioritising the significant profits of large multinational corporations over everyday Australian consumers.”

“Affordability and fairness are key concerns for consumers and the facts are clear, the exorbitant cost of prostheses has been having a major impact on health insurance premiums and has been unfairly hurting consumers. Today’s announcement by Minister Hunt will help address that.”

“What today’s announcement shows is that the Turnbull Government and Health Minister Hunt are listening and are making fair and sensible decisions that put consumers first.”

“Today’s announcement acknowledges that health insurance policyholders have been forced to pay excessive prices for prostheses and that the government is serious about reform.”

“hirmaa is committed to working with the government and other stakeholders to achieve a more sustainable health system. All our health insurance funds are not-for-profit, member owned and community based so any savings delivered through prostheses reform will be passed directly on to consumers through lower premiums.”

hirmaa is the peak industry body for 21 health insurers which are not- for-profit, member-owned and community based. In all, the hirmaa funds provide private health insurance to well over one million Australians.

2017-05-04- MEDIA RELEASE – Consumers stand to benefit from big savings to prostheses