Private health cover: trend up
Almost 8.8 million Australians were covered by private health insurance in the March 2006 quarter. This is an increase of 24,000 on the previous quarter, according to figures released by the Private Health Insurance Administration Council.
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15 May 2006
Almost 8.8 million Australians were covered by private health insurance in the March 2006 quarter. This is an increase of 24,000 on the previous quarter, according to figures released today by the Private Health Insurance Administration Council.
March was the third consecutive quarter to have an increase in coverage. The increase means 43.1 per cent of Australians have private health insurance cover.
As well, a record 8.63 million people, or 42.1 per cent of Australians, have private ancillary cover (up by 60,000 people).
Overall, a record 10.16 million people were covered either by private hospital or ancillary policies, or both, in the March 2006 quarter.
The Commonwealth Government's higher rebates make private health insurance more affordable for older Australians. From April 2005, the rebate was increased from 30 to 40 per cent for people aged 70 years and over and to 35 per cent for those aged 65-69 years. An extra 12,300 people aged 65 years and over took out private health insurance in the March quarter.
A total of 82.6 per cent of in-hospital medical services were provided with no out-of-pocket expenses for the patients – 2.1 per cent higher than in March 2005.
The Howard Government’s policies are relieving the pressure on the public health system. This has led to increasing numbers of procedures being carried out in the private hospital system. In the March quarter, 614,800 privately insured patients were treated: 454,400 in private hospitals; 81,200 in public hospitals; and 79,200 in day hospitals.
The Government is working to improve private health insurance and announced important changes in this year’s Budget. From April 2007, a broader range of health services will be covered including outpatient services, wellness and prevention programmes and chronic care management for conditions such as asthma and diabetes. A new website will be created to provide clear information that makes it easier for consumers to compare health funds and the products they offer.
For more information call Mr Abbott's office on ph 02 6277 7220
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