Private health insurers will not be able to charge smokers more than non-smokers as health minister Tanya Plibersek turned down their request for the same.
Declining to give private health insurers permission to charge smokers higher premiums, Plibersek said all consumers should pay the same irrespective of the state of their health.
Ruling on the issue, Ms Plibersek said, “The government requires all private health insurers to offer community-rated health insurance.”
She said any such discrimination would allow private health insurers to single out people who are more vulnerable to health expenses and need more services.
Insurer NIB was leading company in the push to charge smokers more than others.
Mark Fitzgibbon, chief executive officer of NIB, expressed discontentment over the ruling, and argued that granting their request would have allowed them to offer a discount for good healthy behavior.
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