Another 50,000 Australians Take Out Private Health Cover
The March quarterly report from the independent Private Health Insurance Administration Council found the number of Australians with hospital cover had increased to 10,455,462.
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16 May 2012
Despite dire predictions that means-testing the private health insurance rebate will result in thousands of people dropping their cover, the latest statistics show that in fact more than 50,000 signed up for health insurance at the time Parliamentary debate on the issue took place.
Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said the March quarterly report from the independent Private Health Insurance Administration Council found the number of Australians with hospital cover had increased to 10,455,462.
“During the income-testing debate in February, Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton were among dozens of Coalition MPs who told the Australian Parliament 175,000 would drop out of private health insurance within a year,” said Ms Plibersek.
“Well, during the first three months of this year another 50,000 people actually joined up.”
“In fact, at the time of the debate, every day more than 550 Australians ignored the Coalition’s Chicken Little routine, joined up to health funds and ensured the industry continued to be vibrant and profitable.”
Ms Plibersek said during the March quarter the industry continued to experience strong profits, reporting a before tax profit of $366 million. Before tax profit for the year to March was $1.33 billion.
“Almost half of all Australians -- 45.7% -- now have private hospital cover.”
Ms Plibersek said the percentage of the population with private hospital cover increased by 0.6% from March 2011 to March 2012, which was a faster increase than that experienced by the general population itself.
“Means-testing the private health insurance rebate means that low and middle income Australians no longer subsidise the health insurance of higher income Australians.”
Nearly eight million private health insurance policy holders won’t be affected when the changes take effect from July 1, 2012.
Individuals earning around $84,000 or less and couples and families earning around $168,000 or less would not be affected. Individuals and families would need to be earning around $130,000 and $260,000 or more to lose the rebate entirely.
Treasury modelling estimates that, after these changes come into effect, 99.7% of people will remain in private health insurance, noting that Lifetime Health Cover and the Medicare Levy Surcharge will continue.
For more information, please contact the Minister’s Office on 02 6277 7220
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