A new College Position Statement on ‘Private health insurance policies for psychiatric care in Australia’ has been published, advocating for greater transparency in private health insurance to improve the ability of patients to make informed choices about coverage in relation to psychiatric care.
The Position Statement – developed by the College’s Practice, Policy and Partnership Committee – highlights the poor experiences that many people have in relation to accessing accurate and complete information about their private health insurance policies. At the same time, people with private health insurance policies which include psychiatric care may still be liable for significant out-of-pocket expenses for their mental health treatment and care in private hospitals.
The position statement makes a number of recommendations including that:
- the Australian Government consider private health funds’ psychiatric cover as part of the current review of private health insurance
- educational tools be developed for the public to raise awareness of the risk factors associated with mental illness and the physical health needs of people with mental illness
- patients who are admitted to a private psychiatric hospital for treatment of a mental disorder should have their coexisting physical health needs treated at the same time, where possible.
The Position Statement will be disseminated by the College to government, private health insurance companies and the media, as appropriate, as part of its ongoing advocacy on this important issue.
The full version of Position Statement 91 is available on the College website.