Private health insurance premiums to rise

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Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced a 3.95 percent premium increase for 2018, while admitting there is ‘’still work to be done’’ to keep private health insurance affordable.

The increase, the lowest in 17 years, will come into effect on Sunday, 1 April 2018. It will add $1.40 to a single person’s insurance bill and about $2.75 per week for families.

Mr Hunt claimed the cuts to the Prostheses List and other reforms announced in October had made the difference to premium hikes.

“Every single dollar of savings from the $1.1 billion reform of the Prostheses List is being passed onto consumers and this has already resulted in this lower premium change this year,” Mr Hunt said.

“We are also investing around $6.4 billion every year in the private health insurance rebate to help keep premiums affordable,” he said.

The increase was dismissed by Opposition Health Spokesperson Catherine King who said the two-fold inflation rise was ‘’a massive fail’’ for Australians.

“This year’s rise will see older Australians and families having to pay an extra $180 a year – meaning they are now paying $1000 a year more for private health insurance than they were before the Liberals were elected, “ Ms King said.

Ms King said Australians were dropping private health insurance because of cost of living pressures.

”It is no wonder therefore that complaints about private health insurance are at all-time highs, with the Ombudsman receiving 9.499 complaints last year,” she said.

However, both major parties confirmed their commitment to private health and retaining the rebate.

Mr Hunt encouraged Australians to shop around to find the ‘best deal’ for themselves and their families.

“Private health insurance is an essential and valuable part of the health system and the Turnbull Government is committed to getting better value for all Australians,” Minister Hunt said.

Independent advice on health insurance: www.privatehealth.gov.au

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