Will health fund rationalisation lead to significant premium reductions?

Brian Hanning
2003 Australian Health Review  
It has been suggested that rationalisation of health funds will generate significant albeit unquantified cost savings and thus hold or reduce health fund premiums. 2001-2 Private Health Industry Administration Council (PHIAC) data has been used to analyse these suggestions. Payments by funds for clinical services will not vary after fund rationalisation. The savings after rationalisation will arise from reductions in management expenses, which form 10.9% of total fund expenditure. A number of
more » ... tionalisation scenarios are considered. The highest theoretical industry wide saving found in any plausible scenario is 2.5%, and it is uncertain whether this level of saving could be achieved in practice. If a one off saving of this order were achieved, it would have no medium and long term impact on fund premiums increases given funds are facing cost increases of 4% to 5% per annum due to demographic changes and age standardised utilization increases. It is suggested discussions on fund amalgamation divert attention from the major factors increasing fund costs, which are substantially beyond fund control.
doi:10.1071/ah030139 pmid:15368829 fatcat:bpbufwssmzc27mg4twu5rrczxi