Group insurers need to understand the provision of the national disability insurance scheme and how it differs to their offerings, says Dr Ken Baker, chief executive officer of the National Disability Service.

“I think it’s important that the group insurers understand in what sense this is an insurance scheme and what sense it isn’t.

“This is a major social policy reform and it is in all our interests that they understand it, and that they can provide their own views and advice,” he said.

The key point emphasised by Baker is that, unlike European social insurance schemes, DisabilityCare Australia is not income replacement.

“It doesn’t in any sense provide either compensation for economic loss or pain and suffering or income support. What it does do is provide a guaranteed access to disability support services, special equipment like wheelchairs and other aids they might choose to maximise their independence, [and] participate in the economy and the society around them.”

Baker, who will be delivering a keynote address at the Conexus Financial Group Insurance Summit in August on DisabilityCare Australia, said he intends to differentiate DisabilityCare from the European social insurance model, Medicare, private insurance and accident compensation. But he says the disability insurance scheme “nevertheless embodies some of the key principles of insurance”.

“At a high level the concept of the national disability insurance scheme or DisabilityCare Australia is quite a new concept for Australia. The design is necessarily complex, because it’s really transforming the provision of a whole system of support to people across many domains of their lives.”

The Council of Australian Goverments has created a detailed set of principles to guide the design of various interfaces in disability.
“The interface between DisabilityCare and other systems of support for people with disability or service systems in which people with disability participate, like education, health, aged care, transport as well as income support, all those interfaces are very important to get right.”

Dr Ken Baker will be speaking the Conexus Financial Group Insurance Summit on August 13 in Sydney.

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