PHI 18/18 Private Health Insurance (Complying Product) Amendment (Psychiatric Care) Rules 2018

Page last updated: 27 March 2018

PDF version of PHI 18/18 Private Health Insurance (Complying Product) Amendment (Psychiatric Care) Rules 2018 (PDF 30 KB)

SUPPORTING MENTAL HEALTH - WAITING PERIOD EXEMPTION FOR HIGHER BENEFITS

In October 2017 the Government announced it would introduce changes to make it easier for insured people to access higher benefits for psychiatric care. The changes commence on 1 April 2018.

The delegate of the Minister for Health has made the Private Health Insurance (Complying Product) Amendment (Psychiatric Care) Rules 2018 to amend the Private Health Insurance (Complying Product) Rules 2015. The amendment is only relevant to the waiting period exemption for psychiatric care and changes to psychiatric treatment service limitations.

The Amendment Rules were registered on the Federal Register of Legislation on 26 March 2018 and commences 1 April 2018.

The Amendment Rules and Explanatory Statement can be found by following the link to the Federal Register of Legislation.

The waiting period exemption will only be available to each person once. To record use of the exemption by transferring members, the transfer certificate has been amended. A separate circular providing the new transfer certificate is being issued concurrently with this circular.

The original announcement of this policy in October 2017 included the removal of Benefit Limitation Periods (BLPs) for mental health cover. This change would have been given effect through amendments to the Complying Product Rules. Recent consideration by the Department has confirmed that BLPs are only allowed under the Private Health Insurance Act 2007 if they are consistent with waiting periods under the Act; the Act prohibits BLPs longer that the maximum waiting period set out in the Act. The Chief Executive Officers of all private health insurers were provided with this information on 9 March 2018. Given the position taken on BLPs more generally, it has not been necessary to amend the Private Health Insurance (Complying Product) Rules 2015 specifically to remove BLPs for mental health cover.

Further information about the changes can be found on the Department’s website.

The Department appreciates the contribution from industry to inform the operation of these changes and Private Health Insurers’ patience with the delay in amending the Rules.