People in rural areas have trouble accessing health services

PEOPLE in rural and remote areas with private health insurance have more trouble accessing recognised health services than those living in major cities, a report on the insurance industry has revealed.

The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission handed its annual report on practices in the private health insurance industry to the Senate on Friday.

Its latest report found private health insurance companies recognised at least one category of health service provider for each service covered.

But it found "some members experience difficulty accessing the services of providers that are recognised by their insurer and may need to call on the services of an unrecognised provider".

"This is more common in rural and remote areas where the number of recognised providers is not always sufficient to meet consumer demand," the report reads.

While the report did find differences by region, it showed most private health insurance companies did have regard for member demand for services.