Health-insurance premiums set to rise 4%

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].

By | January 21st, 2018|Health insurance|

Major reforms to make private health insurance simpler and more affordable

The federal government has announced a wide-ranging package of reforms to make private health insurance simpler and more affordable for Australians.

The reforms include:

  • Encouraging younger Australians to take up private health insurance by allowing insurers to discount hospital insurance premiums for 18 to 29 year olds by up to 10 per cent. The discount will phase out after people turn 40.
  • People with hospital insurance that does not offer full cover for mental health treatment will be able to upgrade their cover and access mental health services without a waiting period on a once-off basis.
  • To support Australians in regional and rural areas, insurers will be able to offer travel and accommodation benefits for people in regional and rural areas that need to travel for treatment.

The government has entered into an agreement with the Medical Technology Association of Australia to lower the price of implanted medical devices from 1 February next year, which will have immediate benefits for consumers in the form of lower premiums from April.

Maximum excess can be increased

The maximum excess consumers can choose under their health insurance policies will be increased for the first time since 2001, which will allow many consumers to reduce their premium increase in 2019.

Private health insurance will be simplified by requiring insurers

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By | October 16th, 2017|Business, Health insurance|