Insurers can pay Australians for domestic medical travel

 

Australians living in regional and rural areas sometimes need to travel to larger urban centres or capital cities to receive specialist medical and hospital treatment not available in their local town.

From 1 April 2019, insurers will be able to offer travel and accommodation benefits under hospital cover, instead of only under general treatment policies.  This change is designed to improve the value of private health insurance for consumers in regional and rural Australia and is part of new legislation on private health insurance.

Allowing travel and accommodation benefits to be included in risk equalisation calculations will help insurers to better spread their risk and give them an incentive to offer higher travel and accommodation benefits.  It will not be mandatory for private health insurers to offer travel and accommodation benefits.

Currently only half of all private health insurers offer benefits for travel and accommodation for customers who must travel to access specialist medical and hospital services. Only those with top level cover can claim travel and accommodation general treatment extras cover and the benefits offered have not kept pace with costs.

This will benefit regional and rural patients and their carers who need to travel away from home for hospital treatment.

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