Premium cost hopes resting on knees, hips

The Australian

11 September 2017 - Health Minister Greg Hunt will try to reduce pressure on ­insurance premiums by cutting the cost of prostheses used in the private sector, amid claims device manufacturers may ­already be circumventing changes he introduced seven months ago.

As the minister tries to find savings ahead of premiums rising on April 1, manufacturers are seeking to defend the industry against claims from health funds and a commonwealth agency that prostheses are significantly cheaper in public hospitals.

The Australian has obtained a report Mr Hunt commissioned from the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority showing prices on the Prostheses List used in the private sector have been consistently higher than for the same items, on comparable patients, in public hospitals. Further government analysis shows that by category, on average, cardiac devices were 119% more expensive in private hospitals, urogenital prostheses 109.9% more ­expensive, ophthalmic implants 92.9% more expensive and neurosurgical parts 68.3% more expensive.

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Michael Wonder

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Michael Wonder