The Liberal National Government’s reforms to make private health insurance simpler and more affordable have delivered the lowest annual premium change in 18 years.
The average premium change for 2019, which will take effect on 1 April, will be 3.25 per cent, down over 40 per cent since Labor’s last year in office.
This is the smallest change since 2001 and significantly lower than the 4.1 per cent inflation for medical and hospital services this year.
In addition, from 1 April 2019 insurers will also be able to offer youth based discounts of up to 10 per cent for 18 to 29 year olds.
For a consumer on a $1,500 policy the savings will be up to $150 a year and for a young family on a $3,000 policy the savings will be up to $300 a year.
Our Government’s reforms also continue to provide record coverage for mental health services.
Many Australians have taken advantage of a change introduced in April this year providing greater access to mental health services by allowing people to upgrade their hospital cover without serving a waiting period.
Since 1 April this year Australians have been able to upgrade their existing insurance policies to access psychiatric services without serving a waiting period and have claimed more than $16.8 million in benefits.
These results shows that the reform package our Government announced in October 2017 has had a real effect on the affordability of private health insurance.
However, every dollar matters for families and we will continue to improve the affordability and transparency of private health insurance.
New Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic product tiers will be introduced for hospital insurance products from early 2019.
These reforms will make private health insurance simpler and more affordable and make it clearer on what is and isn’t covered in their policies.
In contrast Labor is planning to strip the rebate for low cost policies that will lead to higher out of pocket costs, a 16 per cent increase to premiums and increased pressure on public hospitals.
More than 13 million Australians have private health insurance. It is an essential component of Australia’s world-class health system.
Over the last financial year, private health insurers have paid consumers benefits of $20.5 billion, 3.4 per cent more than the previous year.
The Government invests around $6.4 billion every year in the private health insurance rebate, which also helps to keep premiums affordable.
There are 37 private health insurance funds operating in Australia and I encourage consumers to shop around to get the best deal for themselves and their families.
This premium change will see a single person will pay an average of $1.14 extra per week and a family on average will pay $2.35 more a week.
Independent, commission-free advice on current health insurance products offered in Australia is available online on the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman website.
For more information on the premium change, visit the Department of Health website.