TASMANIAN health insurance fund St Lukes has contacted nearly 30,000 of its members urging them to join a campaign to stop the demolition of the federal government private health insurance rebate scheme.
The Launceston-based health insurance fund has written to 7000 members via email and another 22,000 using snail mail asking for their help to campaign to save the rebate.
St Lukes managing director Colleen McGann said that members had already dropped out of private health or taken a cheaper option after July 1 when the rebate was scrapped for those people paying the highest premiums because they had joined a health insurance fund after the age of 31.
But there is more to come, she said.
From April next year the rebate to all fund members will be capped.
Ms McGann said that the proposed rebate cap would be particularly complicated because it was planned to take place at product level on at least 30 different products.
She said that as well as the plea to members to join a public campaign to keep the rebate, health insurance funds nationally were lobbying federal politicians from both major political parties in the lead-up to the federal election.
"Parliament passed the legislation in the very last week of sitting and the changes will mean that health insurance will become more expensive," she said.
"The flow-on effect is that more people will drop or downgrade their health insurance leading to more pressure on public hospital waiting lists."
Ms McGann said that federal Labor would be unlikely to reinstate the rebate, but she was seeking a firm commitment from the federal opposition to put a date to when the party would consider it.
"They have said that they will consider reinstating it as soon as finances allow so we want to know whether that will be in their first budget or their second, or when," she said.
"This has come at a time when people are looking at every dollar that they spend and it's making it very tough."