The Senate has launched an inquiry regarding the Private Health Insurance Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 (Cth) (Bill) and submissions are currently open until 18 July 2018.

Given recent confusion, this is an opportunity for private health insurers to clarify the legal position regarding benefit limitation periods (BLPs), or to raise other matters.

What is the Senate considering?

The Bill includes a number of proposed reforms to private health insurance, including measures promoted to address both affordability and complexity including:

  • allowing insurers to offer age-based premium discounts for hospital cover;
  • increases to maximum excess levels (which are designed to reduce premiums);
  • replacement of “standard information statements” with a new disclosure statement regime; and
  • strengthening the powers of the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman.

The Bill also includes provisions granting relief for previous non-compliance in connection with BLPs, as detailed further in our previous article regarding BLPs and current confusion regarding compliance.

The Senate inquiry concerns the Bill as a whole, however the opposition has flagged interest in a number of particular matters, including:

  • impacts of the proposed increase to maximum excess levels;
  • aged-based discounts and the impact to the principle of community rating; and
  • permission granted by the Bill for insurers to terminate products and transfer relevant members to new policies.

Submissions now open

If you are a private health insurer, or other interested party, this is an opportunity to provide feedback on what BLPs will be permitted in future or the other measures included in the Bill.

If you would like further information or have any questions, please contact us.

This is for general information only and formal legal advice should be sought on matters of interest arising from this article.



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