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media release April 21 2019

Comparators Association welcomes low level of complaints data

The latest Commonwealth Ombudsmans report into private health insurance complaints again underlines the low level of issues involving the comparison sector.

The bulletin reported 13 complaints against comparison and broker services out of a total of 963 complaints for quarter Oct-Dec 2018 and of which 816 concerned the health funds.

The Private Health Insurance Intermediaries Association PHIIA says in the same period its comparison members spoke to hundreds of thousands of consumers and helped many find better value in their cover.

Given that trust is key to this business its good to see only just over one percent of all recorded complaints for the quarter were directed at our members, said PHIIA CEO Christopher Zinn

Considering the large number of Australians who use such services to check out the health insurance market its a testament to the care taken to help the consumer.

The number of complaints to comparison and broker services has varied between 26 and 13 over the past year while complaints overall have been trending downwards.

Part of the function of the association to make the public more aware of such services and the valuable work they perform in the market in driving competition and increasing transparency, said Zinn.

We also energetically enforce a self-regulatory code of conduct to ensure we can maintain high standards of customer service and satisfaction.

PHIIA represents those who make recommendations to the public around policies. It enforces a consumer code of conduct to ensure transparency, non-conflicted remuneration and training.

PHIIA recommends that consumers only use comparison services that are signatories to the code www.phiia.com.au/resources/

PHIIA Media Release complaints PHIO

Comparison can help any consumers confused by health insurance reforms

The association representing commercial and not-for-profit comparison sites has rejected suggestions that reforms to private health insurance will unnecessarily confuse consumers or that the public should wait until the reforms are fully rolled out before considering their options.

The Private Health Insurance Intermediaries Association (PHIIA) says the changes, which include the categorisation of policies into gold, silver and bronze tiers, are helpful because they make it easier for customers to compare options and find better value.

PHIIA also believes that now is as good a time as ever for customers to review their options, and that its members are particularly well placed to provide customers with value during the transition period, having invested in upgrading their systems and training staff to help customers through the reforms.

Our members have invested in systems and consultants that are able to pick out policies that will cover people for their important requirements before, during and after the reforms, Christopher Zinn, the CEO of PHIIA, said.

Instead of waiting for the system to completely change and risk over-paying or being under-insured in the meantime, now is a great time for customers to compare their options to see which policies best suit their needs and PHIIAs members have put in the work to make sure that the process is a simple one for their customers.

PHIIA members have been preparing for months with the funds they offer comparisons about to come up to the task.

Consumers should use the arrival of the reforms as a worthwhile nudge to get on and review their existing cover, or take it out for the first time, and ensure they are comparing policies and providers, said Zinn.

Should the new categories create confusion, even in the short-term, PHIIA members have the expertise to guide the public through the transition.

PHIIA MR Mar25

media release Come gold, silver or bronze, theres still comparing to do with private health insurance

New categories for health insurance will help

The imposition of gold, silver and bronze categories for private health insurance may help consumers compare coverage but it will not end their need for trusted advice.

 

There are still many decisions to be made around both hospital and extras cover, as well as their detailed needs analysis, which sees consumers turn to comparators for help.

 

Christopher Zinn, CEO of the Private Health Insurance Intermediaries Association (PHIIA), which enforces a code of code for comparison services, said there is still uncertainty as to how the categories will work.

 

Mr Zinn said We support any initiative that is going to help consumers. There will be a significant range of benefit differences within each category, so we will still work with consumers to find the one that works best for them at the most affordable price.

Private health insurance is a very complicated field to purchase the right product in so comparison sites will continue to play a very important role to the benefits of the consumers, he added.

Mr Zinn concluded that any change there will be winners and losers and a reform of this magnitude will lead many consumers to re-examine their coverage to find better value.

 

Media inquiries PHIIA CEO Christopher Zinn 0425 296 442

media release asking for evidence from Bupa re claims comparators costs increase premiums

PHIIABUPAevidenceMR

 

 

 

Health Fund Bupa Should Put Up Or Shut Up On Claims Comparators Costs Push Up Premiums

 

The industry body representing comparison services for private health insurance has called on the leading fund BUPA to provide hard evidence for its claims the cost of comparators increases premiums.

 

The fund has told Senate inquiry and the media that commissions paid to comparators for recruiting new members is pushing up the cost of policies for consumers.

 

But PHIIA, the Private Health Insurance Intermediaries Association, says the comparators are sales channels like any other and must remain competitive with the likes of Facebook, Google or funds marketing arms.

 

If Bupa or anyone else has evidence as opposed to conjecture for this suggestion let them please present it publically so we can comprehensively rebut it with the facts, says PHIIA CEO Christopher Zinn.

 

The marketing costs of the funds, such as using comparators, are included in their publically available management expenses are theres no sign of the kinds of increases Bupa seems to be referring to.

 

PHIIA members in fact contribute to competition by providing cost effective sales channels for smaller funds and new entrants and also help recruit many new and younger members.

 

Ironically calls by Bupa and the Senate inquiry for greater disclosure of commissions paid could backfire due to the existing PHIIA self-regulatory code of conduct designed to avoid such conflicts of interest.

 

Consultants are purposely unaware of commission rates so they and the intermediaries can not be accused of favouring one product or insurer over another, said Zinn.

 

PHIIA members, such as comparison services iSelect, Compare The Market and Choosewell, provide advice at no cost to the consumer via phone to help align their needs with better value products.

 

Members are bound by a code of conduct ensuring recommendations are in the consumers interests and not influenced by any incentives or arrangements with the funds.

 

Media inquiries PHIIA CEO Christopher Zinn 0425 296 442