Health Premiums To Rise An Average 4.84% In 2017

Health Minister Greg Hunt has confirmed that health insurance premiums will rise an average of 4.84% in 2017.

The approved rise means privately insured individuals will be paying an extra $2 per week for health insurance on average, according to the government.

Privately insured families will be hit with an average increase of around $4 per week.

Minister Hunt pointed out that the industry average rise of 4.84% is the lowest health premium increase in a decade.

“The Turnbull Government’s action to keep the pressure on private health insurers has helped drive the lowest premium price rise in ten years – lower than any year under the Rudd and Gillard governments,” he said.

“Meanwhile, the amount of benefits paid out by private health insurers increased 5.4 per cent over the last financial year.”

Average Health Insurance Premium Increases Since 2010
Year Average Increase
2010 5.56%
2011 5.56%
2012 5.06%
2013 5.60%
2014 6.20%
2015 6.18%
2016 5.59%
2017 4.84%
Source: Department of Health

Despite being the lowest premium hike in a decade, many of the 13 million Australians with private health insurance will struggle to cope with another rise to their cost of living pressures.

Hunt said he is determined to do more to get better value for families.

“As the new Health Minister, I will work with insurers over the next year to find ways insurers can deliver more value for customers without compromising on the quality of cover,” he said.

“It is essential for the health of our nation that we continue to maintain a strong and competitive private health insurance market.

“There are 34 private health insurance funds operating in Australia and consumers are encouraged to shop around to get the best deal for themselves and their families.”

If you are considering switching providers, check out our comparison table below which provides a snapshot of the current low premium policies available in the market, based on a single male seeking hospital cover in NSW. You can try this tool out for yourself here.

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How much will your health fund raise premiums by?

Insurer 2017 Average premium increase % (with rate protection)
ACA Health Benefits Fund Ltd 4.70
Australian Health Management Group Pty Ltd n/a
Australian Unity Health Ltd 4.46
Bupa HI Pty Ltd 4.90
CBHS Corporate Health Pty Ltd 2.98
CBHS Health Fund Ltd 3.29
Cessnock District Health Benefits Fund Ltd 6.57
CUA Health Ltd 4.97
Defence Health Ltd 5.51
Doctors’ Health Fund Pty Ltd, The 3.54
GMHBA Ltd 4.94
Grand United Corporate Health Ltd 4.11
HBF Health Ltd 5.96
Health Care Insurance Ltd 6.06
Health Insurance Fund of Australia Ltd 7.99
Health Partners Ltd 5.10
health.com.au Pty Ltd 8.53
Healthguard Health Benefits Fund Ltd n/a
Hospitals Contribution Fund of Australia Ltd, The 3.65
Latrobe Health Services Ltd 4.49
Manchester Unity Australia Ltd n/a
Medibank Private Ltd 4.60
MBF Alliances Pty Ltd n/a
MBF Australia Ltd n/a
Mildura District Hospital Fund Ltd 5.95
National Health Benefits Australia Pty Ltd 5.41
Navy Health Ltd 4.94
NIB Health Funds Ltd 4.48
Peoplecare Health Ltd 5.09
Phoenix Health Fund Ltd 5.93
Police Health Ltd 4.63
Queensland Country Health Fund Ltd 5.15
Queensland Teachers’ Union Health Fund Ltd 7.30
Railway & Transport Health Fund Ltd 5.54
Reserve Bank Health Society Ltd 5.00
St Luke’s Medical and Hospital Benefits Association Ltd 4.99
Teachers Federation Health Ltd 4.96
Transport Health Pty Ltd 4.93
Westfund Ltd 4.96
INDUSTRY WEIGHTED AVERAGE 4.84

Source: Department of Health

How do this year’s increases compare to last year’s?  

Labor’s response: “Turnbull ripping Australians off at every turn”

Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare, Catherine King, said the premium rise will see Australian families paying an extra $200 per year.

“Australians are paying more than ever for their private health insurance but they are getting less and less, and the Liberals have done absolutely nothing to help families with the costs of health,” King said.

“This $200 increase comes on top of some of the highest premium increases on record, spiralling complaints against private health insurers, and Australians increasingly discovering they are simply not covered for basic inclusions in their policies.

“Quite simply, Malcolm Turnbull is ripping Australians off at every turn. Australians are paying more than ever to visit a GP, they are paying more than ever for private health insurance, and yet the Government is still refusing to lift the GP freeze and invest more in health.”

Private Healthcare Australia: ‘Lowest rise in decade reflects commitment to delivering affordable healthcare’

Private Health Care Australia, the industry’s representative body, said health funds remain committed to working with the government to improve the affordability of the private health sector.

CEO of Private Health Care Australia, Dr Rachel David, said no one liked to see premiums go up but stressed that health fund members continue to get value for their investment.

Dr David said 86.1 cents in every dollar of premium income is returned to members as benefits, which compares favourably with 67 cents for property insurance and 62 cents for general insurance (car and home insurance).

“Health sector costs are rising faster than CPI inflation, and key components of health inflation such as the cost of medical devices are beyond the control of health funds,” Dr David said.

“Health funds [and] other private sector stakeholders like hospitals and medical specialists need to work with Australian Governments to keep input cost down and bend the relentless upward curve of health inflation.

“Consumers questioning the value of PHI should ask themselves – could I afford over $20 000 for hip or knee surgery, or would I be able to spend almost a year in pain on a public waiting list?

“These are common procedures health funds help their members access every day, and the reason why PHI members value the security and peace of mind they get from knowing they can have surgery when they need it.”

2015-16 Elective Surgery Waiting Times in Public Hospitals
2015-16 Common Private Hospital Procedures 2015-16 Average Private Hospital Charge ($) Median Waiting time (days) Proportion of patients who waited for more than 365 days(%)
Total Knee Replacement $23,561 188 7.50%
Vein Ligation and Stripping (removal of damaged vein) $5,464 104 5.00%
Total Hip Replacement $27,523 114 4.80%
Tonsillectomy and/or Adenoidectomy $2,987 120

 

4.30%
Cataract Extraction $4,134 93 2.50%
Hernia (bulges in groin or abdomen) $5,073 52 1.80%
Hysterectomy (operation to remove uterus or womb) $9,623 52 1.80%
Myringotomy (middle ear drainage) $2,067 57 1%
Prostatectomy (surgical removal of all or part of the prostate gland) $7,078 42 0.90%
Cholecystectomy (surgical removal of the gall bladder) $7,114 42 0.70%

Source: Private Healthcare Australia, AIHW

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