Transfer of the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman

The Private Health Insurance Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2014 has been introduced into the House of Representatives.

The purpose of the Bill is to implement a 2014-15 Government Budget measure that would transfer the functions of the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman (PHI Ombudsman) to the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman from 1 July 2015.

The PHI Ombudsman deals with inquiries and complaints about any aspect of private health insurance and acts as the umpire in dispute resolution at all levels within the private health industry. The PHI Ombudsman is independent of the private health insurers, private and public hospitals and health service providers.

During 2013–14, the PHI Ombudsman received 3,427 complaints; the higher numbers of complaints were Oral Information, Hospital Exclusions and Restrictions, the Pre-Existing Condition Waiting Period, Cancellation and General Service Issues.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman is also the Defence Force, Immigration, Law Enforcement, Taxation,10 Postal Industry, ACT and Overseas Students Ombudsman.

The Bill if passed would mean that the Commonwealth Ombudsman would also be the PHI Ombudsman.

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