New South Wales has passed a bill that would force people to buy their own insurance to cover medical expenses.
The Government says the legislation would help make it easier for the nation’s poorest to get the best possible medical care.
New South Welsh Premier Gladys Berejiklian says it will make life easier for people.
“For too long, people have been forced to buy expensive private health insurance.
It’s time to make that change,” she said.
“This legislation will make it easy for the state to pay for the cost of private health cover.”
The Government’s private health insurer, HealthFirst, has warned that the legislation could have an adverse effect on its business.
“If it is passed, it will mean that the Government’s own private health plan will be unable to offer its premium-funded, non-medical coverage to low-income people,” a spokesman said.
The legislation was introduced by the Victorian Opposition in March and passed the Upper House by a margin of two votes.
It was not immediately clear how the Government would comply with the bill.
It passed the House of Representatives by a landslide with a two-vote margin of 73-27.
The Opposition said the legislation was not about saving money but about making it easier to get insurance for a broad range of medical conditions.
The government has estimated that a number of its bills would cost between $600 million and $800 million over the next decade.
A HealthFirst spokesperson said the government was committed to delivering a cost-effective, high-quality health coverage scheme that provided coverage for everyone, including those who need it the most.
He said the private health coverage would be delivered on a voluntary basis and would be subject to strict compliance with the law.
Mr Berejilian said she was disappointed with the Opposition’s refusal to compromise on the issue.
“The Government is committed to working with our partners to get it right and to deliver affordable, high quality private health services,” she told reporters in Sydney.
“We have a lot of work to do and we will continue to work together to make this happen.”
The new legislation will apply to all state-run health insurers, including the Victorian Government’s HealthFirst.
It also applies to private health plans, such as those run by other Commonwealth-owned insurers.
Under the new legislation, insurers will be required to provide their policyholders with “minimum” coverage, with no more than 30 per cent covered by private health insurers.
It will also require insurers to cover patients at least three times a year, regardless of the length of their illness.
The new laws also include the provision that a health insurance policyholder may be required under a “medical exemption” to pay up to $1,000 in co-payments.
Under a “health exemption”, a health insurer is allowed to charge a premium for a service if it is deemed essential for the individual.
The exemption is also available for a range of services, including emergency medical treatment.
However, it is not available for essential services.
The bill also includes the following measures: The state Government’s proposed reforms to the private insurance system will be subject for a vote at the next state election.
If passed, the legislation will allow the state Government to introduce “pre-existing condition” or “life insurance” arrangements for low- income earners.
The Health Insurance Board will be able to impose “lifetime” restrictions on a health policyholder.
This means that a policyholder will not be able buy a policy for more than three years and will be forced to pay a penalty.
A policyholder who breaches a “lifelong” restriction will have their premium cut in half.
This will apply for a period of six years.
If a policy is sold or cancelled before this time, the policyholder would have to pay an additional penalty.
The State Government’s proposal to introduce a “life” limit to the premium charge for people with certain chronic illnesses was approved by the Legislative Council in February.
Under this new limit, the maximum monthly premium will be reduced from $8,500 to $3,500, or $3 a week, depending on the severity of the illness.
Mr Palmer said the Government had been committed to the proposal.
“It is our intention to ensure that all Australians have access to quality health coverage, affordable and accessible,” he said.
Labor’s health spokesman Andrew Leigh said the measures would be good for the economy.
“But the real problem is not that they are not going to help people who are poor, but the reality is they are going to put a real burden on the poorest,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.
The Victorian Government has also sought to reassure health workers and other people with chronic conditions by extending the life-insurance limits from three to five years.
The move is designed to allow those with health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease to continue working in the workplace while their conditions improve.
The private health system is run by private companies, and the Government is looking to increase the number of companies it will hire to