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PHI premiums increase, again!



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JULIA GILLARD M.P.

Shadow Minister for Health Manager of Opposition Business

31 March 2006

PHI PREMIUMS INCREASE, AGAIN!

The annual private health insurance premium increases will come into affect tomorrow after Tony Abbott gave private health insurers the go ahead earlier this month.

Members will see the cost of their private health insurance policies rise for the fourth year in a row because the Minister for Health has failed to stand up to the industry.

Families will be paying more for their insurance despite increasing gap payments, out of pocket costs and exclusions.

The latest premium increase, averaging 5.7 per cent across the funds is double CPI and is despite promises made by the Howard Government in 2001 that increasing membership would put “downward pressure on premiums”.

The latest Private Health Insurance Ombudsman’s report again confirmed the need for action to make private health insurance more competitive and better value for money for health consumers.

The Ombudsman revealed that the big funds in particular are failing their members, even with the benefit of large market shares and huge membership bases.

The sustainability of the private health insurance industry has been undermined by the Howard Government’s increased rebate for older Australians which has seen the number of people over 65 increase dramatically while the number of young people pulling out of private health insurance.

Tony Abbott has failed to make the industry sustainable, failed to deliver an election promise and as a result members are being forced to pay more for their private health insurance from tomorrow.

31 MARCH 2006

CONTACT: Kimberley Gardiner 0401 533 002