Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Private health insurance premiums on the rise again.



Download PDFDownload PDF

M E D I A R E L E A S E

Stephen Smith MP Member for Perth Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing

01/2003 Embargoed to 1 am Friday 10 January 2003

PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS ON THE RISE AGAIN

Australians with private health insurance face the prospect of rising premiums again this year, in breach of the Howard Government’s election commitment that private health insurance premiums would be reduced.

Today is the closing date for Australia’s health funds to finalise and submit their applications for premium increases, with this year’s increases to be announced in the first quarter of this year.

Last February, the Government approved average premium increases of 7% - slugging families with private health insurance between $150 and $250 more each year for their cover.

On September 11 last year, the Government reneged on the Prime Minister’s “honest” and “absolute” guarantee that private health insurance premiums would not rise without express approval by his Government at Cabinet level when it announced that from this year on, health funds would be entitled to automatic premium increases up to the level of the CPI.

As a result, this year privately insured Australians can expect their premiums to rise by a minimum of 3.2%, the CPI figure - that’s another $50 to $100 for families.

However, funds are expected to apply for even greater increases, with suggestions late last year from the private health industry that premium increases of more than 5% are now “inevitable”.

A 5% premium increase would cost many families under financial pressure an extra $100 to $150 each year.

Before the last election, Prime Minister Howard said that there would be “downward pressure” on premiums, that private health insurance would be “more affordable and attractive” to consumers, and that the Government’s policies would “lead to reduced premiums”.

Many Australians with private health insurance will now be only too aware that the Howard Government has failed to keep its promises on private health insurance premium increases.

Media Contact: Kirsten Andrews 02 6277 4053 or 0407 446 838