Prosthetics may become cheaper in health insurance review

PROSTHETICS and other medical devices could soon become cheaper and more widely available because of potential changes to the way they are treated under health insurance.

The changes are part of a wider review of private health insurance that some critics have labelled an "Americanisation" of the sector that will raise costs to consumers.

But Health Minister Sussan Ley said a new "working group" she planned to create would aim to lower the cost to consumers and to government.

Ms Ley said the government pricing system on prosthetics meant the same pacemaker could cost twice as much to consumers in the private system as it did in the public system.

Currently the government sets a fixed price that private health insurers must pay for 10,000 devices, while the public system is open to competition.

Ms Ley said she would ask "all players involved" to sit down together to find a "mutually acceptable model for prostheses reform".