The ACCC report on ‘anti-competitive and other practices by health funds and providers in relation to private health insurance’ has been tabled in the Senate. This is the fourteenth report prepared by the ACCC in compliance with an order agreed to by the Australian Senate in 1999, which requires the ACCC to provide a report of: … any anti-competitive practices by health insurers or providers, which reduce the extent of health cover for consumers and increase their out-of-pocket medical and other expenses. This year the report focused on the practice by insurers of not recognising certain types of allied healthcare provider who offer the same or similar services as other types of ‘recognised’ provider.

The ACCC found that the recognition practices of private health insurers involve the application of commercial and clinical assessments. It noted that it is important to appreciate that the ACCC, in assessing the state of competition in a market, is primarily concerned with the competitive process rather than the outcomes of competition on individual market players. For this reason, despite the fact that individual categories of provider may be facing certain financial hurdles, these difficulties are not necessarily indicative of an anti-competitive market.