Tony Wrong Again: This Time on Private Health Insurance
A record 132,366 people took out private hospital insurance in the June Quarter, a 0.4% increase on March and the largest quarterly increase since 2007.
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Tony “Chicken Little” Abbott’s relentless negativity has been exposed as fear mongering once again, as new figures show a record number of Australians joined private health funds in the last financial quarter.
Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said: “Despite the Opposition Leader’s doomsday prediction that thousands would drop their cover after the Government passed legislation to means-test the private health insurance rebate, the exact opposite has happened.”
Ms Plibersek said a record 132,366 people took out private hospital insurance in the June Quarter, a 0.4% increase on March and the largest quarterly increase since 2007.
She said figures released today by the Private Health Insurance Administration Council (PHIAC) showed 10,587,828 or 46.8% of Australians now have hospital cover.
In stark contrast to these figures, on February 14 this year the Opposition Leader told the House of Representatives:
“. . . about six million Australians will downgrade or abandon their private health insurance as a result of this means test.”
“Tony was wrong about Whyalla being wiped off the map, wrong about the death of the coal industry and wrong about thousands of people dropping out of private health insurance.”
“The rate of new memberships continues to outstrip population growth with more Australians now covered by private hospital insurance than at any other time in the past 37 years.”
Ms Plibersek said even Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton now admits the fear campaign run against means-testing the rebate was hot air. On Sky News on Tuesday, August 14, Mr Dutton told Peter Van Onselen that:
“…the numbers haven’t fallen away from private health insurance coverage.”
Ms Plibersek said the PHIAC quarterly report shows that the private health insurance industry continues to enjoy strong growth.
“The report says the industry recorded a before tax profit of $1.262 billion for the last financial year.”
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 haven’t been affected by the changes.
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.
More information is available at the Australian Government Private Health Insurance Administration Council website
|Coverage and Participation||Jun-11||Mar-12||Jun-12||Quarterly change||Annual Change|
|Hospital Treatment Cover||people||10,255,675||10,455,462||10,587,828||Up||132,366||Up||332,153|
|General Treatment Cover||people||11,888,197||12,162,753||12,310,102||Up||147,349||Up||421,905|
|Any Type of Cover||people||11,901,915||12,173,766||12,321,848||Up||148,082||Up||419,933|
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