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Bupa calls for war on waste

Bupa wants industry reform to weed out “waste and inefficiencies” and tackle spiralling healthcare costs.

Unless urgent cost-cutting measures are taken, affordable care will be increasingly beyond the reach of the country’s 13 million-plus policyholders, the health insurer warns.

The current model for prostheses pricing is long overdue for reform, it says.

Under current arrangements, health insurers are paying $800 million more annually for prostheses than public hospitals.

“While in many ways we have a world-class health system, there are many areas of waste and inefficiencies that are flowing through to consumers and ultimately increasing the cost of their insurance premiums,” Health Insurance MD Dwayne Crombie said.

“Given that about 87% of the money members spend on their insurance premiums goes towards payments to healthcare providers, health insurers and the wider health system have a responsibility to question how that money is being spent.”

Improving transparency and accountability are other areas for consideration, given most consumers have no idea why health costs are going up.

“For example, the industry can do more to help consumers understand the average fees and out-of-pocket medical costs they may be charged over and above what their insurance covers,” Dr Crombie said.

“We can also do significantly more to simplify and be more consistent in the language we use and the presentation of information, so people understand what they are, and are not, covered for.”

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