Private health insurance premium increase and product reform: What should you expect?
Sydney, New South Wales, February 19 2019. Private health insurance premiums will rise by an average of 3.25 per cent from April 1, the lowest annual increase since 2001. Regardless of the purportedly ‘low’ increase, a single person will pay an average of $60 more per year, with families paying $123 more, annually. Some of these products will experience premium increases above this average rate, which will have a roll-on effect to customers.
In addition to the rate rise, the simplification of health cover will take place with the introduction of new product tiers. Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic will be implemented for hospital insurance products. Furthermore, some health insurers, including nib and BUPA, will be introducing discounts of up to 10 per cent for members aged 18 to 29. These discounted offers will be available for both new and existing members. Finally, the maximum excess fee to be included in policies for hospital admissions has increased to $750 for singles, and significantly risen to $1500 for couples and families.
It’s no secret that many Australians have been reducing their level of health insurance coverage, or abandoning health insurance altogether. A review conducted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found more Australians are downgrading or abandoning their private health insurance due to rising premiums.
Andrew Davis, CEO of Health Insurance Comparison and former Chair of the Private Health Insurance Intermediaries Association, has confirmed that customers are “less likely to scrap health insurance” when they “compare and discover the best policy” rather than paying for something they don’t need. The most common customer seen by Health Insurance Comparison are “individuals who have not reviewed their cover for a long time, are paying for services they don’t need, and receive poor rebates on the services they use most frequently.” Davis stresses the importance of comparing your health insurance options before you “lower your policy or abandon it altogether”. “Whilst overall premium increases are inevitable due to the cost of providing health services increasing, with the right assistance, there are numerous opportunities for individuals to both pay less, and improve the quality of cover for them and their families,” advised Davis.
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Health Insurance Comparison is one of Australia’s leading health insurance comparators. It provides the Australian community access to expert staff who assist in selecting the most appropriate health insurance policy from a panel of health funds. Health Insurance Comparison offers thousands of health cover options across all states and membership types.