Fresh quarterly data released yesterday by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority show that the percentage of Australians with hospital cover fell 0.2 percentage points in the December quarter to 45.6% -- the lowest in seven years.
More than 12,000 Australians dropped their hospital cover in the three months to last December, the new figures show, as a separate survey suggests the key reason was they felt it was not worth the money, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.
A new survey by consumer group Choice has found 70% of Australians who don't have health insurance cite cost as the reason.
“With premiums up approximately 70% over the past decade alongside of policies with a growing number of loopholes, it is clear private health insurance is no longer a good value option for many people,” said Mr Tom Godfrey, head of media at Choice.
“With wage growth remaining static, more people are feeling pressure on their household budget and are rightly questioning whether they need to pay for health insurance.”
Health Minister Greg Hunt last month approved an average 3.95% increase in private health insurance premiums –the lowest since 2001 – that will take effect from 1 April. Premiums have increased by an average of 5.6% every year since 2010.