Consumer advocacy group Choice says private health funds should dump their upcoming October price rises, due to sustained “mega profits” in the industry.
Dean Price, Choice health campaigner, said reports that private health funds made mega profits out of COVID-19 showed it should provide some relief to Australians.
“This is disgraceful. Funds are charging full price while not delivering the full range of healthcare services,” Price said.
“They can’t get away with doing the bare minimum while raking in these profits. The October price rises must be scrapped for the good of the community.
“To increase people's premiums on 1 October, as most funds plan to do, would be cruel in light of these abnormal profits.”
Price criticised health funds for promises made back as early as April, for returning profits to members but never stating how they would do it.
“This industry has played an aggressive game of PR bluster – promising to return abnormal profits at the start of the COVID-19 crisis and then backtracking, deflecting and going on the attack to avoid their promise,” Price said.
“The community doesn’t need games right now - put money back in people’s pockets so they can get through this crisis”.
Not-for-profit HBF was the only insurer that had given any relief, with a 12 month pause on premium increases.
“All health funds need to join HBF in deferring the 2020 premium increase for the full year,” Price said.