A CHOICE analysis of Territorian health insurance policies has found many major insurers are using "Silver Plus" policies to sell expensive products with lower cover, potentially costing hundreds of dollars.
"CHOICE found 40 Silver or Silver Plus policies that provide less cover than the cheapest Gold policy in the Northern Territory," says Dean Price, Health Campaigner at CHOICE.
"That means you could be paying less, and receiving more cover by switching insurers, in some cases saving over $1700 a year. If you're in the Northern Territory and have a Silver Plus policy with Frank, TUH or Latrobe you could be on a scam policy. The Territory had the worst result in the entire country in our analysis."
Major health insurers such as Medibank, Bupa, HCF, HBF and NIB also feature prominently in CHOICE’s analysis of scam Silver and Silver Plus policies.
NT - 40 policies more expensive than Gold
Frank (GMHBA) - Top Hospital (Silver+)
TUH - Silver + Family Hospital
Latrobe - SilverPlus Hospital
Big funds: nib, HBF, HCF, Medibank
Full data of all states and territories is available here.
Frank's Top Hospital cover was the worst value Silver policy in every state and territory.
The Silver plus policy scams come following the introduction of the new Basic, Bronze, Silver and Gold system in April this year. CHOICE is calling for the Federal Government and State/Territory Health Ministers to commission an inquiry into the system.
"Cost of living is one of the most pressing issues in the Northern Territory and across the country. State and territory run public hospital systems are feeling the strain as people flee private health insurance and health funds cut back on cover," says Price.
"The private health lobby got their way and kept a complicated and confusing health insurance system. We need an inquiry into private health that includes an assessment of the impact on state systems. Right now Health Minister Natasha Fyles is dealing with a strained health system caused in-part from poor behaviour from private health insurers. We can only solve this problem through a thorough and national inquiry."
Read more at choice.com.au/health
Media contact: Jonathan Brown, 0430 172 669, firstname.lastname@example.org
CHOICE has also slammed the worst Basic Health Insurance policies across the country.
- Analysis based on single policies with a $750 excess without the rebate, families and couples pay about double.
- The great majority of policies are Silver Plus policies, a handful are Silver policies, they all cost more and have less cover than at least one Gold policy in the NT.