High levels of private health coverage
Australians have maintained their private health fund membership at high levels, according to the latest membership figures for the June quarter, 2002.
16 August 2002
High levels of private health coverageAustralians have maintained their private health fund membership at high levels, according to the latest membership figures for the June quarter, 2002.
The Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Kay Patterson, said the level of private health coverage had remained stable over the past two years.
According to the figures released by the Private Health Insurance Administration Council (PHIAC), the number of people, as a proportion of the total population, covered by private hospital insurance in the June quarter was 44.1%. This was a fall of 0.4 of a percentage point compared to the March quarter.
Senator Patterson said 8.7 million Australians had private health cover. That was three million more people covered than three years ago.
She said the number of people with ancillary cover (for such things as dental, optometry and physiotherapy) had increased by 27,000 people in the June quarter.
"People are showing their confidence in the range of services offered by private health funds. However, private health coverage for dental treatment, physiotherapy and optometry is under threat from Labor," Senator Patterson said.
Opposition health spokesman, Stephen Smith, said in early April that Labor had "an issue on ancillaries" and it was reviewing the scope of the 30% Private Health Insurance Rebate on ancillary items.
"We are still waiting, Mr Smith. Tell us if you are proposing to cut ancillary coverage and how you will look after the more than one million people on incomes of less than $20,000 a year who have private health insurance?" Senator Patterson said.
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