Health insurance premiums to rise

We are facing a considerable hike in health insurance premiums – seven per cent to be exact.

Health insurance premiums to rise

Following a seemingly-excessive 6.8 per cent rise in health insurance premiums last year, we are again looking at a considerable hike in April – seven per cent to be exact.

Health insurers have requested that the government sign-off on an increase of up to seven per cent, three times the rate of inflation. Tony Abbott has indicated that the government will not block the rise, responding that it is up to the market to set the price. "Certainly I don't recall as health minister interfering in this process. In the end, as I said, it's up to the market to set the price. The premiums people pay are between them and their funds", Mr Abbott told Fairfax Radio.

Health Minister Susan Ley pointed to the increases under the Labor government to explain that huge hikes were not something new. “However, it is important to point out the previous Labor government signed-off on average annual premium increases as high as six per cent during their time in office, despite their attempts to claim otherwise”, she said.

Under former Health Minster Peter Dutton, the average increase in health insurance premiums was 6.2 per cent, and was as high as 6.02 per cent under Labor in 2009.

The rise in health insurance premiums will certainly force some consumers to reduce their cover or, even, give it up all together, which causes a funding shortfall for health insurers and often leads to an increase the following April.

As cover by private health insurance falls, the slack must be covered by an already failing health system. To allow such increases could be considered foolhardy by a government which is already struggling to implement additional funding streams for Medicare. A more streamlined and mutually beneficial approach between the government and health insurers would be the best way forward. Clearly, allowing the market to set the price isn’t working.

Will increased premiums force you to reduce or give up your private health insurance? Do you think there is a better way for private health insurers and the government to manage our health system?





    COMMENTS

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    26th Jan 2015
    7:24am
    Now in my mid 60s I would not be without private health insurance - got sick in 2013 but because I had private health insurance got into a private hospital within days - the costs were high but over 95% was paid by my fund. Also my fund doesn't increase by full amount - yes it was 6.8% last year but my fund only put fees up 4% (and CPI was 2.7%) so not excessive and their are rebates. Yes it still costs a lot but its cheaper than overseas. Also it was the last labor govn that reduced rebates so some left but current govn has reinstated rebates so people will come back -
    Bes
    26th Jan 2015
    12:46pm
    Now in our 70's and totally agree with you!
    I go to hospital to get my cataracts removed on Thursday privately.
    I'm not adding to the wait list of public hospitals because I have paid the premium. And now at our age, where we 'baby boomers' tend to get blamed economically for being on the planet, we are going to need it, so this is why we have remained with private health.
    Jen
    26th Jan 2015
    8:45am
    This is the reason I believe our health should never be put into the hands of private enterprise. (Too late now.) The only motivation and I mean the ONLY motivation is profit, and more and more profit each year. Those who say they're non profit are just as expensive as the rest. Somebody explain that to me.

    I'm fit and healthy but have a congenital heart condition that may require surgery in the next few years so I will do without whatever's necessary to keep my hospital insurance because I can no longer rely on public when I need it.
    ray from Bondi
    26th Jan 2015
    4:09pm
    what is wrong with the good old USA system, you are told if they can afford to heal you otherwise just go under some bridge and die out of sight. that is where we are heading, I understand that you have to prove you can paye for help in a hospital before they will lift a finger, or there is a few free ones where the cue is around the block
    Jen
    26th Jan 2015
    8:48am
    Tony Abbott won't block any rises, so the insurance companies will make the most of it while they can. TA wants us to have an expensive American style health system where only the wealthy who can afford $700 - $900 per month health insurance can afford to be treated. So long as the wealthy are ok, is good enough for him. He should be locked up for crimes against Australia.
    tj
    26th Jan 2015
    11:20am
    Foolish statement
    Polly Esther
    26th Jan 2015
    2:23pm
    'Crimes against Australia' ?? somewhat rash.
    I will stand corrected on this, but I believe the Whitlam Govt. adopted the American style health system and called it Medibank in the early 70's and then the Hawke Govt. up dated and restyled it somewhat later on. So it seems to me that Gough and Bob could be either thanked or cursed and Abbott left right out of it.
    And no I am not an Abbott fan, he is not the sugar in my tea, but he should not have everything heaped on him just because he is there.
    ray from Bondi
    26th Jan 2015
    4:10pm
    TJ, you repay is the foolish one, that is exactly what is going to happen, but then from your reply I think know what political party you belong to
    particolor
    26th Jan 2015
    9:14pm
    The FREE SPEECH Party ??
    particolor
    26th Jan 2015
    9:03am
    Can we please have a Nice Article tomorrow ??..
    I'm feeling Down !!
    particolor
    26th Jan 2015
    9:20pm
    And now I'm Downerer !! We just completed an 8 Hour Blackout on Australia Day !!.
    I think we should Knight the CEO of Origin ??.. Or the Hot Beer Award ??
    Virginia
    26th Jan 2015
    11:20am
    I don't like to pay more for private health either. BUT by god it is available and I will just not upgrade my mobile to a 6G or get a 75cms new TV for a bit longer cos I know what is important.
    You have to get your priorities right. All the luxuries in our home now that we say are essentials are pipe dreams or even unknown to half the world population.
    Anonymous
    29th Jan 2015
    7:18pm
    ain't that the truth Virginia. People need to differentiate from what I want and what I actually need!
    If I cannot afford something I go without. I will not go into credit card debt ..no way!
    Tom Tank
    26th Jan 2015
    12:03pm
    It is rather interesting that the LNP refused to support the car companies on the basis that a business must be economically viable without Government support.
    They most definitely do NOT apply that to Health Insurance. Without the very high financial support provided by Government the private health insurance industry would collapse.
    The end result is that the proliferation of health insurance companies are making a profit supplied by the taxpayer. There all the CEOs, marketing and accounts people etc etc all required for each company. This is simply inefficient and costly.
    We are living in cloud cuckoo land thinking that private health cover is a wonder of private enterprise when it is so handsomely supported by taxpayers. Seems to me a bit of a contradiction of LNP's oft stated policy re support to business.
    Could our Health system be run more efficiently and cheaply without so many companies to support?
    ray from Bondi
    26th Jan 2015
    12:34pm
    you are so right, but you do not expect them to travel first class with all those other smelly rich people do you, a modest lear jet is a must.
    buby
    28th Jan 2015
    11:03am
    Yes Tom i like your statement, and feel as strongly as you do about the private health!
    Yes why support so many companies when you should be supporting the ppl, MOney making venture, thats all it is???
    genimi
    26th Jan 2015
    12:24pm
    I think it interesting that it is considered ok for the health funds to increase by three times the inflation rate and yet it is not ok to give a reasonable increase to pensioners instead of restricting them to the CPI - and no, I am not a pensioner. I currently pay for health insurance for myself and my son - he is on a disability pension and often needs the respite of a hospital stay to deal with his crippling levels of anxiety. If he had to rely on the public health system I fear he might have done himself some damage by now and may not be around. While I am a self funded retiree, the costs associated with this are huge and this increase will test my finances but I am determined to retain health insurance as my son needs his and I am looking at hip replacement in the next few years.

    I think the comments relating to Labour vs Liberal are stupid, it is like kids in the playground - he did it first! Who really cares who was first? It is pretty much chicken and egg stuff anyway and doesn't change the fact that costs are spiralling.
    Sen.Cit.90
    26th Jan 2015
    12:32pm
    One area that should be looked at is the ridiculous fees that the so called specialist charge; way over the Medicare threshold. I have had Private Health cover for many, many years but still had to fork out excesses after surgery. I'm 86 y.o. age pensioner and will probably drop out the Private Health Fund if the price goes any higher.
    I remember Latham (ALP) promising free Private Hospital care for the elderly over 75, he would of got my vote.
    Qld. LNP are claiming no waiting lists for hospital treatment placing patients into Private Hospital beds if necessary. Qld go to the polls on January 31st guess what.
    particolor
    26th Jan 2015
    12:37pm
    And You believe Him ?? I'm sending Him a Bigger Shovel !!
    Jen
    26th Jan 2015
    12:55pm
    No, we don't believe him, the reality is entirely different from Newman's lies. I know two people who've been waiting years for surgery. No sign of any offer to have it done privately or any other way.
    Sen.Cit.90
    26th Jan 2015
    1:39pm
    Jen,
    I don't understand people you know waiting years.
    I must be blessed; 2014 diagnosed with heart stop; following directions,went to Nambour Hospital and had a Pacemaker fitted. This was followed by two other separate (flutter) procedures on the heart. Excellent service by all hospital Doctors and staff. Later cancer spot on face sent to private hospital to have it surgically removed. All within the year of 2014 and all under the Public Health System.
    I advised the hospitals that I had Private Health cover After the surgeries and had nothing to do with the timing.
    Gra
    26th Jan 2015
    3:00pm
    I don't know who your friends are Jen - perhaps their surgery is considered to only be cosmetic. I don't have Private Health cover(ditched it when I finished working) and the longest I have waited for a procedure is 12 months for a knee replacement. A hernia op I had, I was told the wait would be about 9 months and I had the op done after only six months.
    ray from Bondi
    26th Jan 2015
    12:36pm
    hough all goverments both state and federal keep saying the public hospital system has never been better, people who actually use it know better, I had to have a heart operation and I considered myself weeks away from death, my valve had stopped working all together, and had to make a lot of noise to have the operation. The money that should be going into the hospital system is used to prop up the private health, but sadly if you want quick life saving treatment there is no other option than to pay for private cover, and it is not insurance, insurance will cover most of a cost, private health cover is far from that.
    Gra
    26th Jan 2015
    2:54pm
    I disagree with you about needing Private Health cover if you need quick life saving treatment. I ditched my Private Health cover when I finished work at the end of 2009. In 2010 I needed urgent surgery to remove a kidney that had failed. My GP referred me to a Urologist who arranged for scans to be done that day, that afternoon I was admitted to hospital. If anyone one needs life saving treatment doctors are not going to leave you on the footpath to die.
    ray from Bondi
    26th Jan 2015
    4:15pm
    as I needed a heart operation which is major surgery, there is only limited operating theatre time and I kept being kick out doe to transplants coming in, that went on for 2 months, with my condition worsening all the time, when it was first told I had to have an operation I was told I HAD to have immediate surgery, for operations that are no major the problem is not so dramatic I agree. 6 months after I was discharged I read the somebody had dies at randwick public hospital for exactly the same reason I had, they kept putting him off, eventually the heart gave out from the strain of forcing blood through a valve that does not work.
    ray from Bondi
    26th Jan 2015
    4:20pm
    I am sorry but I do not agree, I was told I NEEDED imediate surgury, two months later I was still waiting after being sent home many times, I believe I am here because I complained to everybody including the media, about 6 months after I read about a fellow who dies at randwick hospital for exactly the same reason. eventually the heart gives up from having to continually work very hard at forcing blood through a valve that is not working
    ray from Bondi
    26th Jan 2015
    12:37pm
    it is not insurance, it cover, insurance will pay most of a cost, health cover does NOT. we have all been conned.
    particolor
    26th Jan 2015
    12:40pm
    And know it !! :-)
    sunnyOz
    8th Mar 2017
    7:47pm
    Totally, absolutely agree!! So much for the 'average' amount quoted as increase - my premium went up 12.09%!! TOTAL RORT!
    sunnyOz
    8th Mar 2017
    7:47pm
    Totally, absolutely agree!! So much for the 'average' amount quoted as increase - my premium went up 12.09%!! TOTAL RORT!
    particolor
    8th Mar 2017
    8:05pm
    We are going BACKWARDS Fast !! :-( :-(
    DC
    26th Jan 2015
    12:58pm
    My God, is there anything people are Not blaming Tony A for????
    Jen
    26th Jan 2015
    1:07pm
    Is there nothing Tony didn't blame Labor for????

    Tony has plenty to answer for. Heading the country down the disastrous American road, is just one of them.
    Gra
    26th Jan 2015
    2:56pm
    People only blame Abbott for what he has given them cause to blame him for.
    DC
    26th Jan 2015
    4:20pm
    Gra, please more info because I for one only see whingers who want everything for nothing. Personally I would suggest to the LNP to just "break" one more of the alledged election promises: Stop trying to get the budget sorted out - do not leave any money in the kitty for the next wankers to spend and look good. Once the egg is scrambled it cannot be put together again, especially if 2-party support is stubbornly denied. All just a waste of effort and energy for the people who don't give a rat's arse where the money is coming from.
    particolor
    26th Jan 2015
    9:08pm
    I'm waiting for Him to Knight the Queens Corgi"s !
    DC
    26th Jan 2015
    11:52pm
    particolor, I don't often agree with you but My God, what was he thinking?? A knighthood to the prince, whatever his name is. I am not aware that man has done anything for Australia for as long as I can remember.
    I was actually hoping TA would bestow a Kinighthood on Bill Shorten - That at least would have been funny!!!
    particolor
    26th Jan 2015
    11:56pm
    I thought Sir Clive would be good ! For Service to the Senate Pass Rate !!
    FrankC
    26th Jan 2015
    4:00pm
    It is intertesting to see how the government will use the previous labour government to their advantage when they want to, And Tony saying what he did,......... He knows how the land lies with Health insurance, you would think the gutless wonder would use this as an opportunity to bolster opinion.
    Troubadour
    26th Jan 2015
    8:31pm
    It does put one in a dilemma 'cos we cannot really afford to pay anymore than we are ow
    for Private Health Insurance - but by the same token cannot afford to risk being without it.
    I know I have a cataract op,. coming up, with Private Insurance my husband was in hospital immediately for his and no costs to pay. IF we have to relinquish after my op. depending on what the increase is, we will still keep on our ancillary. We will just have to cut back on something else.
    GFW
    27th Jan 2015
    12:43pm
    If you don't like the cost of your private health cover and you think that commercial insurance companies make vast profits out of health insurance then look around for a 'not-for-profit' group such as GMHBA - you will probably find you can save youself some money

    27th Jan 2015
    2:18pm
    I will keep my private insurance because I can afford to keep it but some will not be able to and I can see the public system being unable to cope if too many opt out of private insurance. Cannot say I blame them as it is expensive and if the rebate goes I will have to have a rethink but it will be with reluctance.
    cougar
    27th Jan 2015
    3:22pm
    I don't object to paying fees for private health, my beef is that the bills are not totally covered! And, as we get older, the more we are likely to require hospitalisation, and/or surgery.
    Bebe
    27th Jan 2015
    4:18pm
    To all the Abbot bashers. Labour left the country as it regularly does in a CROCK of..........
    and took the shovel with them.
    Jen
    27th Jan 2015
    5:16pm
    Get your facts right Bebe. That's patently untrue. And his name is spelled Abbott.
    ray from Bondi
    8th Mar 2017
    10:20pm
    some people can not help but to blindly repeat rhetoric.
    particolor
    8th Mar 2017
    10:41pm
    And now Libs think they're playing Black Jack !! DOUBLE UP !! :-( :-( :-(
    maxchugg
    27th Jan 2015
    4:36pm
    This was as predictable as sunrise as history repeats itself. Bank fees went through the roof and exorbitant profits became the norm for the banking industry as soon as the Commonwealth Bank was sold. I recall hearing from ACCC an admission that the behaviour was unfair, "but there's nothing we can do about it." Had the Commonwealth Bank not been sold there was a whole lot the government could have done,simply not following suit with the rest of their banks in their grab for profits. Market place competition would then have provided all the control that was needed.
    Sadly, private health insurance looks set to become unaffordable for those who need it most and the callous, big business loving Liberals couldn't care less.
    To add to the emerging problem, government funded concessions on premiums are being watered down rapidly. Nobody, it seems has done the maths, comparing the cost of the health rebate system with the savings achieved by private health insurance. The Labor Party, as blinkered as their opponents, appears to think that people who have health insurance are wealthy.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2015
    5:38pm
    We have Paul Keating to thank for the privatisation of the Commonwealth Bank.
    maxchugg
    28th Jan 2015
    5:47pm
    Radish, I agree with you. It was not my objective to use this subject as a platform for attacking the Liberal Party. One side of politics is no better than the other, but I have no suggestions for a better way to run the country, so until a statesman arises continue with my policy of always voting for the opposition and attempting to ensure that if the Libs are in power Labor controls the senate, and vice versa.
    Bad for stable government, but the best option, methinks, under current circumstances.
    ray from Bondi
    8th Mar 2017
    10:24pm
    sadly ALL governments are guilty of selling our assets from under us than buying back the services, all the while telling us that things will be cheaper, how much longer can we believe anything ANY politician tells, but sadly the libs have no social concience so their decisions are usualy more deivsrating for those not born with a sliver spoon.
    particolor
    8th Mar 2017
    10:43pm
    Check !! 10/10 !!
    Jacko
    27th Jan 2015
    5:36pm
    I have always been covered but must say this may be the one that breaks the budget. When my husband died I was left with out of pocket expenses of $48,000 this was after top hospital cover and I must say was treated in the public hospital as that was the best deal that we could get at the time.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2015
    5:40pm
    On one occasion I was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Was asked if I was privately insured. I said I wanted to go as a public patient which is my right. I was in overnight that was all and it cost me nothing. If I had elected to go as private I would have incurred costs.

    Other times when I have had surgery I have gone as a private patient.
    Not Senile Yet!
    28th Jan 2015
    4:02am
    Let's Privatise the Parliament by NOT Voting for any members of Political Parties!!!!!!
    Now there is an Original Liberal Idea for You!!!!!!
    To be a Member of Paliament....Federal or State.....it is a requirement to SERVE the Public voter!!!!!!
    So it is a for of Corruption to belong to a Party and Have to do what their Policies dictate!!!!!
    Stop voting for Puppets!!!!!
    As for Private Health Insurance....we do not have enough people to make it viable for more than TWO Private Health insurers....just not enough people/population!!!!
    If they were smart...which they are not...the Government would allow the largest tow to buy up all the smaller funds.....or at least encourage them.....how????
    Stop subsidising them with tax refunds....this would force them to act!!!
    As for Medicare......make it more viable by insisting that all Mining profits pay a 5% Tariff or Tax to finance either Medicare or Directly finance the funding of Public patients who do not have Private Health Insurance.
    Privatisation is not always the answer to everything......nor is copycatting the Yanks!!!
    Health & Education should be controlled by the Nation...therefore the parliament....NOT PRIVATE ENTERPRISE!!!!!
    They have sold off everything else......do not let them sell off these two important National interests!!!!!
    Not Senile Yet!
    28th Jan 2015
    4:07am
    We have a sliding scale of Taxation......I wonder how the liberal Party followers would react to a sliding scale of how much you pay for Private Health Insurance....ie ...the more you earn....the more you pay!!!!!
    I do not believe the average Aussie really wants the American System of Health Care!!!! Why???
    Because it is Un- Australian to not provide basic Health Care....but more importantly.....we are Australians....not Americans...so we like to find our OWN SOLUTIONS...not just copy for the sake of it!!!
    Jen
    28th Jan 2015
    8:48am
    Totally agree!
    Anonymous
    28th Jan 2015
    2:12pm
    In addition to the Medicare Levy there is also a surcharge already if you earn more money.
    http://www.privatehealth.gov.au/healthinsurance/incentivessurcharges/mls.htm
    particolor
    28th Jan 2015
    3:04pm
    Gouging !!
    pb tom
    30th Jan 2015
    11:06am
    Does anyone read the annual report from their Health Fund ?
    I did read mine a couple of years ago and was amazed at the donations the Fund was making to universities and research groups. So we pay twice once through our taxes and again through our health fund ? No wonder the fees go up and up !!
    particolor
    30th Jan 2015
    4:40pm
    ^ & ^ :-(
    sunnyOz
    8th Mar 2017
    7:45pm
    I am sick and tired of constant increases every year, completely out of all proportion to cost of living OR what the Dept of Health states. I checked the enclosed web site - http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/privatehealth-average-premium-round
    Stated my Health Insurance had an average 4.9% increase. WHY had this increase, because mine has gone up 12.09%!! I am sick of having to check premiums every year. My current health fund was VERY quick to sign me up with good premiums 2 years ago - now that I have bitten the hook, they increase it WAY higher than advised.
    Really sick and tired of increased premiums, and lower cover. Seems what will me really make me the sickest is the rip off of my Health Insurance provider!
    particolor
    8th Mar 2017
    8:02pm
    I feel for you !! :-(
    And I know the feeling !! :-( :-(
    sunnyOz
    8th Mar 2017
    9:57pm
    Another sneaky practice I loathe - though I don't need it, when ever I do a quote I always tick 'joint replacement'. BUT - every fund I have looked at - the only way you can get 'joint replacement' is to select the absolute TOP level. But this level also covers pregnancy, weight loss surgery, & reproduction services. I DON'T want these things! 'Cheaper' funds only cover joint investigation and joint repair. Fewer funds are offering fewer cover options, the excess is getting higher and rebates are getting lower and lower. As much as I rally want to hang on to Health Insurance, it is becoming totally unaffordable.


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