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Bupa boss speaks out against means testing

25 October 2011 - 2:07pm

The head of Australia's newest private health insurance provider has urged the federal government to reconsider its controversial reforms for the industry.

The recent merger sees the combining of MBF, HBA and Mutual Community into the one provider, Bupa.

Bupa chief executive Richard Bowden used the merger announcement to show resistance against the government's proposal to means test the 30 per cent private health insurance rebate.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Mr Bowden said while there was uncertainty about whether the proposed laws would pass parliament, he believed "means-testing the 30 per cent private health insurance rebate and changing the Medicare surcharge were bad policies and would force up premiums".

 "We don't think the policy is a good one," he said.

"Any change to so-called high-income earners ... if those people drop their cover or reduce their cover, whatever happens it will have an impact on really the people who need insurance the most and they are often low-income earners or they are ill."

The bill has already been rejected twice by the Senate, however if passed, will affect individuals earning more than $80,000 a year, as well as families earning over $160,000 a year.

The proposed laws are expected to be reintroduced for debate in parliament soon.