Health premiums 30% cheaper under the coalition
When it comes to private health premiums, people can be sure that premiums will be 30% cheaper under the Coalition than under Labor, Health Minister Kay Patterson said today.
1 April 2002
Health premiums 30% cheaper under the coalitionWhen it comes to private health premiums, people can be sure that premiums will be 30% cheaper under the Coalition than under Labor, Health Minister Kay Patterson said today.
She said Opposition health spokesman Stephen Smith was wrong to claim that there were 23 per cent private health premium rises in the pipeline over four years.
Mr Smith had relied on a Budget document that was made public seven months ago - two months before the Federal election.
The facts are that the Federal Government has made budgetary provisions for future expenditure on its very successful private health rebate, which gives a 30% discount to premiums.
A significant amount of new spending on the rebate will be for people who have decided to upgrade their private health insurance coverage. So it is quite wrong and misleading for Mr Smith to claim that health premiums will rise by 23%.
When Mr Smith's party was in power, some health funds put up their premiums four times a year and they did not have to meet strict tests to ensure that the rises were justified and in the public interest. In fact in one year, premiums rose by 17%.
Under the Coalition, there are no automatic increases in premiums. Once a year, health funds can make an application for an increase. They must justify the rise or they don't get it. This Government does not rubber stamp increases - unlike the Labor Party.
I remind people that the health funds did not have any increases in their premiums for at least two years and Medibank Private did not have a rise for nearly three years.
It is very wrong for Mr Smith to claim that premiums will rise by 23% over a four-year period.
We are not claiming that premiums will never increase in the future. But one thing that fund members can be sure of is that they will 30% cheaper under the Coalition than the Labor Party.
Health fund members are encouraged to look for the best product that suits their needs. If a health fund is not suitable, people can change to another fund without penalty.
I call on Mr Smith to give an undertaking that he will retain the 30% discount, which gives Australian families about $750 a year towards the cost of their health care. It is time for him to stop hiding behind the fig leaf that "all policies are under review".
From today, private health insurance premiums will rise by an industry average of 6.9%. The increases, which will add $2.66 a week to the average family policy, are to ensure that funds are able to meet a big jump in claims and benefits paid out to their members.
Media Contact: Randal Markey 0417 694 520