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Tuesday, 3 March 1998
Page: 270


Mr McClelland asked the Minister for Health and Family Services, upon notice, on 17 November 1997:

(1) How many private health insurance companies increased premiums in each financial year since 1995-96.

(2) By what sum did each private health insurance company increase its premiums in the period referred to in part (1).

(3) Is there a review mechanism which applies to increases in private health insurance premiums; if not, will the Government introduce a review mechanism.


Dr Wooldridge (Health and Family Services) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)—(2) The financial information necessary to respond to this question is only readily available from September 1996 and is shown in Table 1. The number of funds increasing premiums between that time and 30 June 1997 was 30. The number of funds increasing premiums since 1 July 1997 and 17 November 1997 was 18 and is shown in Table 2.

The information for earlier periods by individual fund would require considerable resources and I am not prepared to authorise the Department to commit such resources. The annual average premium increase for all funds for the period 1985-86 to 1996-97 is shown in Table 3.

(3) All proposed premium increases are scrutinised by the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and myself to ensure that they are necessary and comply with the requirements of the National Health Act 1953.

TABLE 1

Premium Increases 1996-97

Fund name

Average% Increase across fund

ACA

6.8%

AHM

10.0%

AMA

37.0%

Army Health Benefits Society

9.3%

Australian Unity Friendly Society

10.3%

CBHS

9.6%

CDH

4.8%

Druids

11.3%

Geelong

11.7%

Government Employees—AON*

12.7%

Government Employees—AUH*

12.0%

Government Employees—except NSW/QLD*

16.9%

Government Employees—NSW*

8.9%

Grand United—Corporate

22.6%

Grand United—Friendly Society

9.0%

HBF

5.9%

HCF

12.0%

HCI

22.0%

Health Partners

5.3%

IOOF

37.0%

IOR

15.0%

Latrobe

7.2%

MBF

6.5%

Medibank Private

12.9%

Mildura

8.1%

MIM

3.1%

NIB

15.5%

NMHI*

8.1%

NMHI*

11.1%

NSW Teachers

10.0%

Railway and Transport

21.5%

SGIC

6.8%

St Luke's

12.5%

Westfund

4.7%

* Premium increase for only part of the fund's product

TABLE 2

Premium Increases 1997-98

Fund Name

Average % Increase across fund

Army Health Benefits Society

12.4%

CDH

10.0%

Credicare

10.0%

Druids (Vic)

13.6%

Government Employees—API*

10.8%

Government Employees—M.M.*

15.4%

Government Employees—NSW*

19.0%

Government Employees—QLD*

19.3%

Healthguard

22.7%

IOOF—Vic

24.8%

IOR

11.2%

Lysaght

12.5%

Manchester Unity

9.0%

MBF

5.0%

Medibank Private

11.2%

MIM

8.9%

Naval Health Benefits Society

13.6%

NMHI

7.1%

NSW Teachers

16.1%

Phoenix

9.3%

S.A. Police

6.5%

* Premium increase for only part of the fund's products

Premium Increases between 1 July 1997 and 17 November 1997

TABLE 3

Average Premium Increases

Period

Percentage Increase

1985-86

14%

1986-87

19%

1987-88

18%

1988-89

11%

1989-90

9%

1990-91

13%

1991-92

17%

1992-93

9%

1993-94

5%

1994-95

4%

1995-96

6%

1996-97

7%

Calculated by dividing total contributions by the average number of SEU for the year.