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Mentally ill should have access to insurance

Media Release
Penny Wright 23 Jan 2013

Insurance exceptions allowing discrimination against people with mental ill-health must be re-examined, says Australian Greens spokesperson for Legal Affairs and Mental Health, Senator Penny Wright.

Through the Senate Inquiry process beginning today, the Australian Greens will seek to amend the exceptions for insurance agencies to make the sector more transparent and accountable.

"It is very disappointing and unfair if these exceptions are being exploited by insurance companies," Senator Wright said.

"By refusing to provide personal cover to Australians with mental illnesses, they perpetuate stigma against these people in the community.

"Discrimination of this nature can actually exacerbate mental illnesses and prevent people from seeking the help they need.

"While we understand the commercial necessities of the insurance sector, it is not acceptable that people with mental ill-health are denied coverage. It is even more shocking that people who have recovered from past mental illnesses may still be denied insurance protection years down the track.

"In the Senate Inquiry hearings today I will be asking questions of Beyond Blue and other mental health experts as to how we can strengthen these anti-discrimination laws to make insurance companies more transparent and accountable."

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