Following a prolonged and very public debate about the price of implantable devices in private hospitals in Australia, an agreement has been reached between the Australian Federal Government and the medical device industry that will give certainty to manufacturers selling devices in the Australian market.
The agreement has a downside in that $300 million of benefit reductions will be imposed over the next four years with initial reductions in benefits coming into effect in 2018. While no one likes a price cut, the final figure of $300 million was certainly less than the figures of $800 million to $1 billion that were being widely discussed in the media. Specific prices for individual devices can be found here. It is anticipated that all savings from these measures will be passed onto consumers
There are certainly some attractive sweeteners in the package. The frequency of the publication of the Prostheses List will increase from two to three times a year. This should certainly help with the lengthy application periods that now exist and will be attractive for manufacturers entering the Australian market.
There has also been a commitment by the government to review the criteria of the Prostheses list so that clinically and cost-effective devices that are not implantable may be included. This is certainly a long overdue and very welcome reform.
The Prostheses list reforms are part of the package of wider health care reforms which aim to make private health insurance more accessible and affordable to Australian consumers.
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