28.6 C
Byron Shire
March 1, 2021

Push to end discrimination in the insurance industry

Latest News

Hospital staff want to park for free while they work

It seems that Lismore Base isn’t the only hospital whose workers would like to park their cars for free while they work.

Other News

Super swim challenge accepted

A group of mates from Brunswick Heads, Byron Bay and Lennox Head, recently formed a swim team known as the Anti Budgie Boardriders for the purpose of taking part in the Starlight Foundations Super Swim Challenge.  

Random Mullumbimby breath test leads police to cannabis and ketamine

Police say that a random breath test in Mullumbimby has led to the seizure of cannabis and ketamine.

Will Ballina Council live up to its promise?

A motion from Cr Jeff Johnson to be tabled at Ballina Shire Council's meeting this week will ask the council to live up to its promise to act on the climate emergency, and divest from fossil fuel investments.

International Women’s Day kerfuffle at Ballina

One councillor walked out of Ballina Council's recent meeting during an emotional discussion about speakers at an upcoming IWD event.

Lismore urges REX to reconsider service cancellation

The regional airline Regional Express (REX) announced yesterday that five services, including its Lismore service, would cease once government support through the RANS program is discontinued at the end of March.

Action on Cumbalum Interchange at Ballina?

Following multiple community requests, Cr Phillip Meehan brought a motion to the last Ballina Council meeting calling for additional ramps to be built at the Cumbalum-Pacific Motorway interchange.

Depression-shutterstock_139494050Beyondblue and the Mental Health Council of Australia are stepping up their campaign to end practices in the Australian insurance industry that may discriminate against people with a mental illness. The organisations are urging more potential victims of discrimination to come forward, share their stories and participate in the move to redress this issue.

Beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell said Australians with an experience of mental illness are regularly denied insurance cover, forced to pay higher premiums or have their claim rejected because of their illness.

Current practices within the insurance industry mean:

• People with a history of a particular type of mental illness are sometimes refused insurance that would cover another type of mental illness in a way that would be unacceptable for people with a physical illness

• People with a history of mental illness are sometimes refused income protection coverage despite never having taken a day off work due to their illness and having a doctor’s statement that their illness will not affect their work

• Some insurers have been known to attribute a mental illness to a person despite there being no official diagnosis from a health professional.

Ms Carnell said beyondblue and the Mental Health Council of Australia are calling for people who believe they have experienced discrimination to come forward to help end the injustice.

‘We want to hear your stories and find out how insurance companies are potentially discriminating against people with history of a mental health condition,” she said. “We hope that the momentum created by people coming forward will help place pressure on insurance companies to take notice and change their policies and practices.

‘In addition, beyondblue and the Mental Health Council of Australia will refer consumers who believe they are experiencing unlawful discrimination by insurers to the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) for legal advice.’

Under current legislation, insurance companies can discriminate against someone with a disability, including a mental illness, if certain conditions are met. To be legal, it must be reasonably based on relevant data or other relevant factors, such as a medical opinion.

However, beyondblue and the Mental Health Council of Australia regularly hear stories that indicate insurance companies may not be reasonably basing their decisions on relevant data or factors when they refuse cover, deny claims or increase premiums for people who disclose a mental illness.

Mental Health Council of Australia CEO Frank Quinlan said the practice was unacceptable.

‘It is hard to imagine someone with, for example, a history of stomach trouble being refused cover for a broken leg,’ he said. ‘But this sort or discrimination can be routine for people with a mental illness.

‘We know of people who have received short-term professional support following a traumatic personal experience who years later are denied certain types of cover, under a mental health clause. We know of other cases where people are refused insurance despite effective management of their condition, and therefore not posing an unacceptable risk to the insurance company. We believe these practices should change.”

PIAC will provide legal advice and representation where appropriate to consumers who, on the basis of their mental illness, may have experienced unlawful discrimination by insurers. Depending on the nature of the matter, PIAC will provide one-off advice to a person, ongoing ad hoc legal advice or legal representation.

Anyone who thinks they may have been discriminated against or for more information can contact beyondblue at [email protected] or call 03 9810 6100.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

International Women’s Day kerfuffle at Ballina

One councillor walked out of Ballina Council's recent meeting during an emotional discussion about speakers at an upcoming IWD event.

Croquet club gets new turf as it prepares to host NSW championship

The Byron Bay Croquet Club is ready for another big year that includes new turf, hosting a state championship and building on last year’s membership growth.

Ahoy m’hearties young and old in Bangalow

‘Ahoy m’hearties’ was the catchcry at Bangalow Parklands on Saturday afternoon during the Connecting Generations Pirate Party.

Blue-green algae amber alert still active at Uki

Last Thursday Tweed Shire Council issued an amber alert for blue-green algae in the Tweed River at Uki, with Clarrie Hall Dam remaining on a green alert. This morning they say the alerts are still active.