The government's reforms to take the pressure off the cost of private health insurance has delivered the lowest annual premium change in 17 years. Health funds will have average weighted premium increases of 3.95% from 1 April 2018, according to a statement by the Health Minister, Mr Greg Hunt.
Last year's average premium increase was 4.84%.
The increases, to take effect from 1 April, mean that a single person will pay an average of around A$1.40 (US$1.13) extra a week, while families will pay an average of around A$2.75 extra a week for their private health insurance.
The Minister says that the significant private health insurance reforms that it announced in October last year have made an impact and they will continue to drive down costs. Every dollar of savings from the A$1.1 billion reform of the Prostheses List is being passed onto consumers and this has already resulted in this lower premium change this year.
In addition, as part of the reforms announced at the end of last year, the government is acting to simplify private health insurance by requiring insurers to categorise products as gold/silver/bronze/basic. These changes will also require insurers to use standardised definitions for medical treatments to make it clear what is and isn’t covered in their policies.
More than 13 million Australians have private health insurance. There are 37 private health insurance funds operating in Australia.