Don't privatize ACC
I am a business owner, and I don't want ACC privatized, nor do i want choice. I don't know many employers nor employees who do? So why is the government in such a rush to privatize or make ACC competitive?
Those in favour of privatising ACC normally claim that by having choice, we will have a cheaper or better system. Lets assume that we might even make it 10% cheaper, is it really in employers and employees best interest.
Consider the following scenerio: You have an accident playing sport on the weekend, and go to the doctor. Currently the doctor fills in an ACC form, and all is good. If employers had choice of provider, will the doctor need to fill in different forms for different providers? does an employee know which provider their employer has chosen? will the employee need to pass the paper work to the employer? or will ACC have additional paperwork to do? If ACC is doing all the admin anyhow, is the Australian owned insurance providers just making a profit on premiums? Will the insurance provider charge the employer more if their employees play sport? Will employees need to fill in detailed health questionaires before they can even be employed? Why would an insurance provider want to insure for accidents if it did not have a tight rein over the risks? If the insurer minimises their risk, does the risk get placed on the employer? or worse, leave the employee under insurered?
When you have a single no fault insurer, the administration is simple. You either had an accident, or you didn't. A minimum level of care is either provided or it isn't. There is no argument about who is liable for the payout. I just can't see how it would be simplier and cheaper to administer an insurance scheme with multiple providers, because of the complexity that multiple providers would create. The only saving that might be made would be in relation to the assesment of the individual, and the care provided to them.
So what about policy wording? What will these "equivalent" policies provide? As an employer, are you responsible for the costs of an accident to your employees where the policy does not cover a specific scenerio, such as the accident not happening at work?
As an employer, I am much happier knowing that there is one simple all encompasing insurance plan for my staff, and that I do not need to consider the policy wording, and that I only need to pay my bills. The cost of ACC just is not an issue causing me to waste several hours completing paperwork, and reading the specifics of different providers policy wording.
Making ACC competitive, won't make my employees more productive. It won't make me more productive. It would cause additional administration time that would not save me anything. It would cause some profits on premiums to go to offshore underwriters.
There is just no public outcry asking for this. We like our ACC. Just leave it as is.
If the overall goal is to decrease the overall spend of ACC, then this means that the level of care is going to be reduced. Disguising this via privatisation is wrong. If the focus really is to reduce cost, then consider dropping the level of care across the board, and let individuals buy private insurance to top up their level of care. But leave the employers out of it. Shifting responsibility from the state to employers does not help a country lift it's productivity levels.
Posted: Tuesday 7 June 2011