Summary of the sixteenth meeting of the Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee, 4 December 2018, Department of Health offices (Scarborough House), Canberra

This page contains information on the Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee – Meeting Summaries

Page last updated: 21 December 2018

Summary of the sixteenth meeting of the Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee, 4 December 2018, Department of Health offices (Scarborough House), Canberra (PDF 803 KB)


Members and proxiesSecretariat and Other Attendees
Dr Jeffrey Harmer AO, ChairSusan Azmi, Secretariat
Michael Roff, Australian Private Hospitals AssociationPauline Dusink, Secretariat
Dr Rachel David, Private Healthcare AustraliaDavid Whelan, Secretariat
Matthew Koce, Members Health Fund AllianceZoe Carter, Secretariat
Jane Griffiths, Day Hospitals AustraliaDi Prosser, Secretariat (Item 3)
Philip Truskett AM, Royal Australasian College of SurgeonsPierre Nijssen, Secretariat (Item 4)
Tony Lawson, Consumers Health ForumAndrew Simpson, Department of Health, Observer
David Weiss, ex-officio
Members by teleconference
Ian Burgess, Medical Technology Association of Australia
Toby Hall, St Vincent’s Health Australia
Garry Richardson, Expert member
Associate Professor Julian Rait OAM,
Australian Medical Association


Ian Yates AM, COTA
Marcus Dripps, Allied Health Professions Australia

1. Welcome, apologies and introductions

  • The Chair noted apologies for this meeting.

2. Implementation of private health insurance reforms

  • The Department provided an update on the finalisation of legislation for the private health insurance reforms. This included advice that:
    • the primary legislation, the Private Health Insurance Legislation Amendment Bill 2018, passed Parliament on 11 September 2018 and received Royal Assent on 21 September 2018; and
    • the secondary legislation, including the Private Health Insurance (Reforms) Amendment Rules 2018 (the Rules), was made and registered on 11 October 2018.
  • The Department advised that the Rules include transitional provisions for private health insurers to implement Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic product tiers and standard clinical categories across their hospital treatment products. Members were informed that the transitional provisions enable insurers to implement the changes on a voluntary basis, for some or all products, from the date the Rules amendments are made, with a requirement for full industry adoption across all products by no later than 1 April 2020.
  • The Department updated members on the upcoming changes to the administration of second-tier default benefits and the Department’s recent consultation on draft guidelines.
  • The Department also provided an update on the private health insurance mental health reforms introduced in April 2018.

3. Update from the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Out-Of-Pocket Costs

  • The Ministerial Advisory Committee on Out-of-Pocket Costs has met five times, with the last meeting held on 19 October 2018.
  • The meeting was provided with high level recommendations from the Committee, but it was provided in confidence.
  • The meeting was informed that the Department contracted for a survey of patients about hidden fees/booking fees. The outcome from the survey was still being assessed at the time of the meeting.

4. Premium Round

  • The Committee was provided some high level (non-identifying) statistics about the 2019 premium round to which all insurers had provided their submissions by the deadline on 23 November 2018.

5. Report from the Improved Models of Care Working Group

  • The Committee had been provided the Report from the Improved Models of Care Working Group in time to consider it before the meeting.
  • The Committee was also read some of the key points from the Report, including:
    • the principles developed by the Working Group’s two sub-groups, which guided the sub groups’ considerations;
    • that the sub-groups and Working Group were not comfortable making substantial recommendations impacting beyond mental health and rehabilitation treatments, but the Working Group recommended that the principles be used if future committees consider other treatment areas; and
    • the Committee were read the key recommendations, with the Secretariat noting where recommendations were within the direct control of the Minister for Health.
  • The Committee endorsed all recommendations from the report and asked that all recommendations be forwarded to the Minister for Health.

6. Other Business

  • The Committee noted that there are no further meetings scheduled. Members were thanked for their work over the years.

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