Older Australians lead surge in health insurance
Memberships for those aged over 55 rose by almost 24,000 in the March quarter, after an increase of 31,000 in the December 2004 quarter, according to figures released today by the Private Health Insurance Administration Council.
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16 May 2005
Mature-aged people are leading a surge in private health insurance numbers. Memberships for those aged over 55 rose by almost 24,000 in the March quarter, after an increase of 31,000 in the December 2004 quarter, according to figures released today by the Private Health Insurance Administration Council.
People with private health insurance including both hospital and/or ancillary-cover memberships now total 10.03 million, which is the highest level in the more than 20 years since Medicare was established in 1984.
The increase in private health insurance memberships follows the Australian Government’s election commitment to help one million older Australians keep their health cover. This was achieved by increasing the private health insurance rebate from 30 to 40 per cent for people over 70 years of age, and from 30 to 35 per cent for those aged over 65.
Today’s figures show that 8.7 million Australians, or 42.9 per cent, held private health insurance for hospital cover in the March quarter. This is a net increase of almost 3,000 over the December quarter, and the first increase in the March quarter for five years.
The number of people with ancillary cover increased by 32,000 in the March quarter taking ancillary cover to a record 8.45 million people.
This confirms the strongest rate of health insurance take-up in the past four years. Since June 2003, each quarter’s total has shown an increase over the previous corresponding quarter.
The Australian Government’s policies are taking pressure off the public health system, with increasing numbers of procedures being carried out in the private hospital system.
In the March 2005 quarter, 544,000 private health insurance cases were treated in private hospitals and 80.6 per cent of in-hospital medical services were provided with no out-of-pocket expenses for the patients.
For more information call Mr Abbott's office on ph 02 6277 7220.
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