The Private Health Insurance Administration Council (PHIAC) regulates the private health insurance industry in Australia. PHIAC is an independent statutory authority which reports to the Minister of Health.
What is PHIAC?
PHIAC is the prudential regulator of Australia’s private health insurance industry. It is a statutory corporation of the Commonwealth. It was first established in 1989, under the National Health Act 1953 and continues its existence under section 264-1 of the Private Health Insurance Act 2007.
PHIAC’s statutory objectives are described in the Private Health Insurance Act 2007. Section 264-5 instructs PHIAC, in performing its role, to “take all reasonable steps” to strike an “appropriate balance” between three objectives:
- fostering an efficient and competitive health insurance industry;
- protecting the interests of consumers; and
- ensuring the prudential safety of individual private health insurers.
PHIAC’s central responsibility, therefore, is to protect consumers of private health insurance by ensuring an industry which is competitive, efficient and financially sound.
Protecting consumers of private health insurance by ensuring an industry which is competitive, efficient and financially sound.
Statement of Expectations and Intent
On 1 November 2011, the Minister for Health and Ageing provided the Private Health Insurance Administration Council (PHIAC) with a Statement of Expectations which set out how the Council should operate to achieve its legislated functions, interact with key stakeholders, undertake compliance activities and remain a responsible employer.
Chief Executive Officer
Mr Gath has been the Chief Executive Officer of PHIAC since June 2008. Prior to joining PHIAC, Mr Gath was a partner in a national law firm where he worked with government and health sector clients, focussing on governance and regulatory issues.
In his earlier career he worked as a ministerial adviser and later spent four years as general counsel of the Health Insurance Commission (now Medicare Australia). He has held a number of professional positions, including ACT President and National Vice-President of the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association and Deputy Chair of the Public Law Committee of the International Bar Association. He is currently a Council Member of the Institute of Public Administration Australia, ACT Division.
General Manager, Prudential Supervision and Deputy CEO
Mr Groenewegen was appointed to his current role in September 2005. Mr Groenewegen joined PHIAC in 2001 and has since played a leading role in developing PHIAC’s supervisory and policy activities.
Prior to joining PHIAC, Mr Groenewegen held a series of financial and accounting based positions with a large health service provider and the Australian government. Mr Groenewegen is a Certified Practicing Accountant and a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
General Manager, Industry Operations and General Counsel
Mr Smith joined PHIAC in December 2008. Prior to joining PHIAC, Mr Smith had 13 years of policy and legal experience within the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA). This included work on the MBS and PBS, Professional Services Review, the development of legislation (i.e. Gene Technology Act 2000) and regulatory activity.
While at DoHA, Mr Smith served as the departmental representative on the Private Health Insurance Registration Committee and worked as Special Legal Advisor, Private Health Insurance and Director of Legislation and Legal Policy, Private Health Insurance.