A clever health insurance idea

Some of the best ideas are the ones we keep overlooking – probably because they are so blindingly obvious.

Such a one is the suggestion that people be offered incentive – in the form of reduced premiums – for looking after their own bodies and reducing adverse health risks. This may well be a commonplace outside Australia but we haven’t yet discovered such rationality.

The idea is getting an airing as part of our current federal election campaign so both sides of politics are taking entrenched positions which always helps sensible debate. NOT!

Even so, elections are about giving ordinary people a voice, right? So, if we think something should be done we need to air our views to politicians? Ah, but we can’t get a word in edgewise coz they won’t shut up talking about themselves. Hmm . . .

Anyway, it makes a lot of sense that if those who want private health insurance and keep their weight within certain parameters or get regular dental or other health check-ups, they can get a reduced premium. It is just pure, practical commonsense.

Ah, but then government intervenes and everything goes to crap.

So, we now learn that insurers are actually banned from positive discrimination by rewarding those who reduce the cost burden on health insurance. Is that madness or what?

Insurance companies are divided on their reaction to the concept. One insurance fund boss says there is no way they can reward those who look after their health. Excuse me? Such an attitude surely belongs in the dark ages.

What the funds are increasingly doing, then, is offering exclusions from their policies to reduce risk – and cost to consumers. This has become so popular that one-in-four policies now do not offer cover for one or more types of treatment. You just know deep down inside that this is helping insurance companies boost their profits and it is not about offering us cheaper insurance, no matter what they might say.

Oh, but there’s one final bit of madness. It comes from our federal Health Minister and her whole government that, she says, is not in favour of discounts for non-smokers. This enlightened angel of mercy says that sounds like a penalty for smokers. Does she have a walk-on role in Alice in Wonderland?

The idiocy of her stance is highlighted by the fact that her government is spending $100 million to persuade indigenous Australians to not smoke! Imagine how much they’re spending to ask us white fellas to give up the cancer sticks? So, they can spend hundreds of millions on one hand but refuse to budge on a measure that would cost taxpayers nothing on the other. That alone surely disqualifies them from running the nation?

Acknowldgement: John Rolfe, The Courier-Mail.