Private health-insurance premiums are set to rise by an average of 4 per cent on 1 April, judging from comments made yesterday by the federal health minister, Mr Greg Hunt.
Such an increase would be the lowest in percentage terms since 2001, but would still be nearly twice the rate of general inflation and would add about $200 a year to the average policy.
Above-inflation premium increases
It means that the government’s much vaunted sweeping changes and cuts to the medical devices sector, which is usually blamed for above-inflation premium increases, have so far (since October) only delivered a 1-per-cent reduction in premiums compared with 2017, which had an average 5 per cent rise.
Mr Hunt last year said the government wanted this year’s increases yto be “as close as possible” to the inflation rate of 2 per cent.
Opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King said the premium rise was more disappointing news for people struggling with cost-of-living pressures and stagnant wages.
“The government will now have presided over a 25-per-cent increase in private health insurance premiums [since it won office in 2013].