Aussie health fund policy holders forced to upgrade or forfeit access to chronic pain treatments

Josh, 33 from Port Macquarie, NSW, battled chronic pain for more than 10 years before undergoing life-changing treatment. After years of riding the “medication merry-go-round” Josh underwent surgery to help treat his chronic pain. Fortunately for Josh, the surgery was covered by his health insurance policy.

“However, it was touch-and-go for a while because we had to literally decide whether to fund the surgery ourselves, or have somewhere to live.

“I can’t imagine what other Australians will face should treatments for chronic pain no longer be covered under the Government’s private health insurance changes,” said Josh.

Today the Neuromodulation Society of Australia and New Zealand (NSANZ) voiced concern that under the Government’s PHI changes, Australians living with chronic pain will not be covered unless they hold the top-tier Gold policy. NSANZ called on the Government to guarantee that all existing procedures be made available to Australians in Bronze, Silver and Gold policies.

If you’re a current Private Health Insurance (PHI) policy holder living in chronic pain, you too could be among the more than one million Australians left worse off under the Government’s new PHI change which will make access to effective chronic pain treatment through private hospitals inaccessible to one-in-two current PHI policy holders.

One-in-five Australians, including kids and adolescents, will experience chronic pain some time during their lives. Yet, up to 80 per cent of those living with chronic pain are currently unable to access vital treatment that could improve their general health and wellbeing, and overall quality of life.

According to NSANZ, the proposed changes will profoundly impact Australians living with chronic pain, including children, adults and their carers’. The changes will also result in a significant blow-out of public waiting lists for chronic pain services

“NSANZ wishes to ensure Minister Hunt stays true to his commitment to Australians with chronic pain, by including chronic pain in Bronze, Silver and Gold PHI polices,” said Dr Mark Russo, Pain Medicine Specialist Physician, Director-At-Large, NSANZ.

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