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FULL ROUNDUP: 2018 health insurance premiums to rise by 3.95%

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Signs your money is diversified

How much will your fund be raising its premiums?

Another year, another health insurance price hike. At 3.95%, 2018's industry average price rise is the lowest in the last 17 years but what does it mean for your wallet?

According to the Minister for Health Greg Hunt, these increases will see the average single paying an additional $1.40 a week for private health insurance and families an average of around $2.75 extra a week.

While Hunt said there is more to be done to make health insurance more affordable for the average consumer, this is a step in the right direction. He also said that health insurance reforms, such as the reform of the Prostheses List, should also help Aussie hip pockets.

2018 marks the second straight year that premiums have increased at a "record" low rate but it may not be enough to slow the growing dissatisfaction with private health insurance. A recent survey found that 48% of Aussies plan to review their cover before the 1 April price rise.

Find out more: Why do health insurance premiums continue to go up?

Which health fund's premiums will be going up the most on 1 April 2018?

The fund with the lowest average premium increase is Doctors Health Fund, with an average price increase of 2.28% in 2018. Doctors is followed by CBHS Corporate Health (2.38%) and ACA Health (2.72%). All three of these funds are restricted. Of the 10 funds raising their premiums the least, eight are restricted funds. Australian Unity and HCF are the only exceptions.

And the three funds raising their premiums the most on average? Health Care Insurance Ltd (8.90%), CDH (6.40%) and Defence Health (5.97%).

The good news is that most funds are raising their premiums by less than they did a year ago. Only three funds are raising their premiums more: Health Care Insurance (8.90% vs 6.06%), Defence Health (5.97% vs 5.51%) and Transport Health (5.16% vs 4.93%).

Of the big four health funds, three are raising their premiums less than the industry weighted average: HCF (3.39%), Medibank (3.88%) and nib (3.93%). Bupa is raising premiums just above the industry average at 3.99%.

Average increase with rate protection

ahm (see Medibank)
Australian Unity4.46%3.89%
CBHS Corporate2.98%2.38%
CUA Health4.97%3.29%
Defence Health5.51%5.97%
Doctors Health3.54%2.28%
Emergency Services Health3.36%
GU Health4.11%2.84%
Health Care Insurance6.06%8.90%
Health Partners5.10%3.95%
Latrobe Health4.49%4.25%
Mildura Health Fund5.95%5.68%
MO Health3.90%
Navy Health4.94%3.94%
Nurses & Midwives3.22%
Phoenix Health5.93%4.19%
Police Health4.63%3.72%
Queensland Country Health5.15%4.39%
Queensland Teachers’ Union Health Fund Ltd (TUH)7.30%4.40%
Railway and Transport Health5.54%4.47%
Teachers Health4.96%2.84%
Transport Health4.93%5.16%
Industry weighted average4.84%3.95%

So, how did your health fund fare? If you're not happy with how much your premiums are going up in 2018 all is not lost. One option is to pay your annual premiums in full before 1 April. Doing so will lock in your premium at its current rate and in some cases, you can earn up to a 4% discount for paying annually and up to 4% for paying via direct debit.

Another option is to look at switching health funds. Health funds know that consumers get spooked by rate rises, so they offer a range of deals and incentives to win new business at this time of year. If you're in the market for a new health insurer, these deals could be the cherry on top that helps you decide between two funds offering similar policies.

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