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Big jump in health insurance fund premiums.



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MEDIA RELEASE

 

JENNY MACKLIN

Federal Member for Jagajaga

Shadow Minister for Health

 

1 March 1999

 

BIG JUMP IN HEALTH INSURANCE FUND PREMIUMS

 

Shadow Health Minister, Ms Jenny Macklin today condemned the Government’s approval of an average 22% increase in premiums for the Defence Health Benefits Fund. This Fund provides health insurance for 44,000 servicemen, ex-servicemen and their families. Members face increases of between $160 and $400 a year.

 

“In one blow this increase wipes out two thirds of the Government’s widely promoted and very expensive rebate,” Ms Macklin said.

 

“The major funds reached an agreement with the Government late last year to defer their increases which were due to start today. As a result most people with health insurance won’t know the hidden increase they face until June.

 

“However the Defence Health Benefit Fund was not a party to this politically motivated arrangement and they have received approval from the Health Minister for this huge 22% increase. Members are incensed that almost as soon as they received the 30% rebate it has effectively been taken away.

 

“The Prime Minister has taken personal responsibility for approval of premium increases. The new rates that were approved last Friday give a clear signal that he has done nothing to control costs in the private health insurance industry.

 

“Debate will commence next week on legislation to end the Prime Minister’s involvement with approval of premium increases. The Government’s goal under the legislation is to remove all price controls in two stages. Labor will oppose this latest attempt by the Government to avoid accountability for the failure of its own policies.

 

“Most privately insured people will have to wait until June to find out what unpleasant shock is in store for them. They can rely on the fact that the Government will do nothing to limit increases — regardless of how outrageously high they push prices,” Ms Macklin said.

 

For further information: Andrew Herington 0418 573 504

Jenny Macklin 0419 593 622

 

 

 

LK