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What The Changes In Private Health Insurance Mean

Australians with private health insurance are being promised cheaper premiums and easier access to mental healthcare under a raft of new measures.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt will announce a major shake-up of the system, with those under 30 expected to be the biggest beneficiaries.

So here's what you need to know:

*Insurers will be able to discount hospital insurance premiums for 18- to 29-year-olds by up to 10 per cent. The discount will phase out after people turn 40.

* People with hospital insurance that does not offer full cover for mental health treatment will be able to upgrade their cover and access mental health services without a waiting period on a once-off basis.

* Insurers will be able to offer travel and accommodation benefits for people in regional and rural areas that need to travel for treatment.

* A deal has been struck with the Medical Technology Association of Australia to lower the price of implanted medical devices from February 1, 2018. It is expected to lower premiums from April 2018.

* The maximum excess will be raised, allowing some policyholders to select a higher excess in exchange for a lower premium.

* Products will be categorised gold, silver, bronze and basic, and use standardised definitions to make it clear what policies do and do not cover.

* Private Health Insurance Ombudsman powers will be boosted to ensure consumer complaints are resolved clearly and quickly.

* Benefits will not be available for a range of natural therapies.

Source: Health Minister's media release


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