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Abbott's own goal on PHI (private health insurance) figures.



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JULIA GILLARD M.P.

Shadow Minister for Health Manager of Opposition Business

17 May 2005

ABBOTT’S OWN GOAL ON PHI FIGURES

The latest figures indicating private health insurance membership and benefits paid prove that the Howard Government’s Seniors Rebate is an unsustainable policy that will cost Australian families more.

The Howard Government promised at the 2001 election that it would keep private health insurance affordable, but Minister Abbott has clearly failed as more and more young families drop out due to the increasing cost.

While around 24 000 people aged over 55 took out private health insurance, around 21 000 people under 55 got out. This means the number of people with private health insurance only went up 2 846 people, since December 2004.

It is not surprising that health funds have paid out a record amount in benefits, an 8.2 per cent increase from last March. This simply highlights the point that people over the age of 55 tend to be net drawers from private health insurance. With more older Australians taking out private health insurance and fewer younger Australians staying in, it is inevitable premiums will keep going up and up.

While the Howard Government approved an average increase in premiums of 7.96 per cent in March this year, many people actually experienced a premium increase of between 8 and 20 per cent.

As the graphs below clearly show, the majority of drop outs are from younger people and presumably their children. Many young people and their families simply could no longer afford to fork out for private health insurance when the Minister for Health has

failed to ensure value for money.

Minister Abbott has failed to deliver the Howard Government’s commitment to making private health insurance “more affordable and attractive” to consumers. Private health insurance is now 33 per cent more expensive than in 2001, and likely to go up by more than 8 per cent next March.

17 MAY 2005 For further information contact:

Kimberley Gardiner 0401 533 002

Membership of Private Health Funds -

Sustainability Declines in March Quarter

-8,000

-6,000

-4,000

-2,000

0

2,000

4,000

6,000

8,000

Age

N o . Me

mb e

r s

C:\DOCUME~1\svigosg\LOCALS~1\Temp\msohtml1\01\clip_image001.gif

Membership of Private Health Funds - Sustainability Declines in the year to March Quarter 2005

-20,000

-15,000

-10,000

-5,000

0

5,000

10,000

15,000

20,000

25,000

30,000

0-4

years

5-9

years

10 - 14

years

15 - 19

years

20-24

years

25-29

years

30-34

years

35-39

years

40-44

years

45-49

years

50-54

years

55-59

years

60-64

years

65-69

years

70-74

years

75-79

years

80-84

years

85-89

years

90-94

years

95+

years

Age

No . M

e m b

e rs