Call for mandatory coverage of hospital-at-home care by insurers


The federal government needs to make sure private health insurers cover hospital-at-home care, according to Catholic Health Australia.

In its pre-budget submission, Catholic Health Australia said the government should set a minimum amount that insurers have to pay for hospital-at-home treatments.

“Treatments like chemotherapy, dialysis, wound care, palliative care and post-surgical rehab can be conducted safely at home with better outcomes – but millions of patients are missing out,” said Catholic Health Australia CEO Jason Kara.

Hospital-at-home care can reduce readmission rates, shorten hospital stays and increase patient satisfaction. It can also take pressure off the strained hospital system. But Australia is way behind other countries – only 5% of patients get this care, compared to 20% in the UK and 13% in the US by 2025.

“To stop Australia falling further behind international peers, and ensure patients receive the care they want, the government must apply a default benefit to hospital-in-the-home care,” said Kara. Modelling found a minimum daily payment of $330 would encourage hospitals to invest in and provide this type of care.

Catholic Health Australia also wants the government to reform how insurers increase premiums each year. They say insurers are failing to meet the standard of giving 90% of premiums back to members, while spending a lot on things like salaries, bonuses, ads and sponsorships.

“Linking premium increases with member benefits is a sensible step to make sure highly profitable health funds have their members’ interests front and centre,” said Kara. The group is also calling for action on workforce shortages, mental healthcare and private health funding reform.

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Ritchelle is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel, Australia’s premier resource of information for healthcare.

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