Health services next step for super

Consideration should be given as to whether superannuation funds can provide their members who are in retirement with health services, an industry panel has suggested.

Speaking at a thought leadership breakfast covering the topic of whether superannuation needs to play a broader role in the retirement of Australians, held immediately before the SMSF Association National Conference 2018 in Sydney last week, BT Financial Group superannuation general manager Melinda Howes said: “The superannuation industry, life insurance or even most insurance now, most Australians are insured through their super, and we’re seeing convergence now of health services as well.

“Will those three areas converge or should they converge to the point where superannuants are able to receive health services directly from their super fund through their working life, but possibly also into their retirement?

“That would be a really interesting proposition and can you use your super maybe in retirement to pay bulk-provided health services that are cheaper.”

Howes revealed the process has already begun to a small degree with some workplace and corporate super funds already putting in place arrangements to provide services that help members in accumulation phase return to work when they are ill or injured.

She added super funds cannot offer these services directly to their members due a legislative restriction currently in place and suggested this constraint may need to be removed in the future.

Fellow panellist MLC chief executive Matthew Lawrance concurred super funds had to look at other services they could offer to their members, but added help from other parties was also required.

“There’s more that we can do in terms of engaging with our members and offering to connect them to a whole range of other possibilities,” Lawrance said.

“Ideally government and regulators and the industry bodies probably have a job to do to just join the dots and make sure that we are looking beyond the three-year election cycle.”

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