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The ACCC turns the spotlight on health insurers

6 March 2017 - 9:26am

When it comes to choosing a health insurance provider, you want be assured that you'll have access to quality healthcare, without any smoke and mirrors. However, according to legal watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), some Australians aren't getting the service they deserve. 

Here's an overview of what the ACCC is looking to target this year, and what you should consider when choosing your health insurance

Honing in on 'misleading and deceptive practices' 


The ACCC has announced its focus areas for the year ahead. The ACCC has announced its focus areas for the year ahead.

At a recent event for the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), Rodd Sims, Chairman of the ACCC, announced some of the focuses for the year ahead. This included targeting what has been described as 'misleading and deceptive practices'. 

This coincided with the launch of the ACCC's 2017 Compliance and Enforcement policy that outlined the year's priorities. Alongside issues regarding criminal cartels and unfair contracts, the agriculture, construction and health sector were in the spotlight for misconduct. 

"The ACCC does a lot of educating and working with businesses, large and small, on compliance with laws that are set up to ensure the market economy runs as it should, to the benefit of living standards and household budgets," said Mr Sims.

Mr Sims went on to note that while education had an important part to play in compliance, there was a need to sometimes send businesses a stronger message. One method of achieving this is via court action, which Mr Sims described as a deterrent for other businesses. 

Investigating the health insurance sector 


The ACCC has investigated the impact of changes to health insurance.  The ACCC has investigated the impact of changes to health insurance.

The ACCC's recent market study into the private health sector investigated the effects on consumers who weren't informed of changes to their policies, bringing a number of issues to the attention of the ACCC. 

"What concerns us is companies saying, 'well it's too expensive to keep offering this to members, so we'll stop doing it' and not telling people," Mr Sims told ABC News. 

"It is certainly surprising how these decisions are made, and particularly given the impact that they can have on vulnerable people who are in hospital or are just about to go into hospital."

As part of his address at the CEDA event, Mr Sims detailed how the ACCC had been collaborating with the health insurance industry in an effort to improve compliance with Australian Consumer Law. At present, the ACCC's consumer and competition enforcement teams are made up of about 65 investigators each, as well as 40 consumer product safety experts. 

"We have one private health insurer before the courts and I can confirm there will be further enforcement action in 2017," said Mr Sims.

Why rely on HICA for health insurance?


If you're looking for a business health insurance solution, HICA can help. If you're looking for a business health insurance solution, HICA can help.

Whether you're looking for private health insurance for you you and your family, or searching for a business health insurance solution, HICA is here to help. We pride ourselves on being Australia's leading independently owned health insurance brokerage, dedicated to finding the most suitable plan for you. 

What makes us different to others is our broking service, which allows us to maintain an objective approach while providing a high quality service for our clients. With over 25 years of experience in the corporate sector providing broking and consulting services to businesses around Australia, our outcome-focused approach makes it easier for you to keep costs down. 

As we consider ourselves health insurance advocates, all the plans and products we offer are supported by our expert team, accessible via phone or email. To find out more, don't hesitate to contact HICA today for a complementary, no-obligation consultation.