AMA cries foul on insurance reporting changes

2 minute read

The association was “surprised and disappointed” to find certain statistics had been omitted from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s quarterly health insurance summary reports.

The financial services watchdog is proposing changes to the way it reports some health insurance data, and the AMA is certifiably ropeable.  

Specifically, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) is looking at dropping membership statistics from its quarterly private health insurance statistics publication.  

Right now, the three-monthly publication is unique from general and life insurance publications in that it features a mix of financial, capital and membership statistics; the other two only feature financial and capital data.  

The seven granular private health insurance reports, which are also released quarterly, will remain the same for the time being.  

The membership and benefits metrics will still be available, just not in the summary report. 

Instead, they will be found in a new, standalone report titled “quarterly private health insurance membership and benefits summary”. 

Basically, the information will be disseminated across more reports and the summary publication will no longer be a summary of all the data.  

Part of the reason given for the changes was the introduction of a new reporting framework for insurers, which has made it more difficult to compare like-for-like historical datapoints.  

As a result, the data timeseries for stock and flow items now starts in December 2023.  

The AMA is not buying it. 

“The specific reporting changes APRA is proposing in this consultation are completely unrelated to changes to the capital framework for private health insurers,” an AMA submission to APRA read.  

“More importantly, the changes proposed will reduce the utility and usability of these quarterly reports for stakeholders. 

“The AMA is seriously concerned that APRA does not understand the needs of the broad range of health-sector stakeholders who rely on these publications.” 

The stakeholders that the AMA is referring to are the small, non-profit organisations and stakeholders, a “far broader than those interested in life and general insurance matters”.  

“Private health insurance is a unique form of insurance which is subsidised by the government at the cost of billions of dollars per year,” the association said.  

“It is reasonable to expect that there is robust, transparent reporting by APRA on private health insurers.” 

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