Quotes attributable to CHOICE Health Campaigner Dean Price:
"Most health insurers were charging people the full price during COVID-19 and promised to give any windfall gains back to their customers. The attempt to rebrand their profits as savings doesn't change the fact that people had their surgeries cancelled, many insurers closed their dental centres and other services were severely restricted. People were paying full price for services they couldn't access."
"The private health industry lobby group said in April that, "We absolutely guarantee we will pay the money back, we're not going to make a profit out of COVID." (1) Yet in the AFR today the industry is making it absolutely clear that they intend to keep those extra profits made during COVID-19 (2). The promise of giving cash back to health funds' members was clearly a hollow and now misleading marketing ploy to stop people from dumping this low value product."
"It's no wonder that people continue to drop their cover. The private health insurance industry is doing nothing to address people's concerns that private health insurance costs too much and offers too little value. In March 2020, CHOICE research found that 78% of people with private health insurance identify it as a key cost of living concern." (3)
"Health insurance policies that were poor value before COVID-19 were even worse value during the pandemic. The industry is now backflipping on its promise to return any profits made off the pandemic and won't be returning their unexpected windfalls back to their customers."
"The Australian Government must appoint an independent umpire to make sure that any windfall gains are handed back to people who were paying full price and not getting a full service."
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(1) Coronavirus: Cash back for health fund members from COVID-19
(2) Health funds backtrack on refund promise
(3) CHOICE Consumer Pulse March, 2020 is based on a survey of 1,041 Australian households. Quotas were applied by age, gender, state, household income and education, to ensure the findings are reflective of the Australian population. Fieldwork was conducted from the 20th March to the 29th March 2020.