CONCERN OVER COSTS: Moya Jackson and Mark Herron say they don't see the benefit in private health insurance for their lifestyle.
CONCERN OVER COSTS: Moya Jackson and Mark Herron say they don't see the benefit in private health insurance for their lifestyle. Katie Hall

Private healthcare costs crippling Bundy residents

RISING private healthcare costs are becoming an increasing concern for Bundaberg residents, with industry figures estimating more than 60 per cent of the region's people are opting not to take out private insurance.

The revelation comes after the announcement of the closure of BUPA's Hinkler Central store. Officials cited the store was no longer "sustainable” to keep open.

The store will close on Friday August 23.

The latest Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) figures as at June 30 show that the number of Queenslanders with hospital cover sits at 41.1 per cent, while those with general treatment cover sit at 47.5 per cent.

But locals are saying the cost of private health has left them wondering what they're actually getting out of the system, and they say rising costs don't help.

Moya Jackson and Mark Herron currently have private health insurance, but they're wanting to cut it because they feel the benefits don't match the costs of being insured.

"In terms of major medical (procedures) we look at it and say that the gaps are so large its not worth our while by shelling out the money,” Mr Herron said.

"The costs and gaps go up each year and the benefits don't match the costs.”

Private Healthcare Australia Chief Executive Dr Rachel David said the rising healthcare costs were fuelled by an ageing population, increased use of health services and the rising cost of medical technology.

"PHI premiums may increase because these costs increase. Without further reforms to address rising healthcare costs, people will be forced into the public system,” Dr David said.

Dr David said by addressing waste in the system and regulated inflated prices, prices could be brought down.

"We know that out of pocket costs are a major issue for consumers and that greater transparency on cost is needed. Heath funds are working with government and stakeholders to enable consumers to identify and select suitable providers ... ,” she said.



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