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Private Health Insurance (PHI) Roundtable

Palliative Care Australia (PCA) Vice President Jane Fischer and PCA Policy Manager Philippa Kirkpatrick attended the PHI roundtable on Monday 16 November 2015 in Canberra. There were about 36 participants representing a range of peak bodies. Other roundtables will focus on different stakeholder groups.

The discussion focussed on ensuring that consumers received value for their private health insurance. Some of the key issues raised included the complexity of the products, the lack of transparency and the difficulties for consumers in making an informed decision about the best private health insurance for them.

While the roundtable did not focus on palliative care, PCA had opportunity to raise a number of issues. PCA commented ensuring access to privately funded palliative care to complement the public system was important to provide value to people with private health insurance. Therefore there needs to be an expansion of palliative care services in private hospitals, offering of private community based palliative care services to complement hospital services, and access to allied health who are part of the multi-disciplinary palliative care team.

PCA also reiterated that any changes to the system need consider equity of access, seeking to ensure that those of lower income and with lower levels of health literacy are not disadvantaged.

The online consumer survey is open until 4 December 2015. We encourage everyone to raise any issues relating to coverage of palliative care by the private health insurers in this survey.

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