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Private health insurance premiums increase almost $834 million in 2017–18

Posted: 27 November 2018 9:01 am
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Australian consumers spend roughly $23.9 billion on health insurance.

The cost of private health insurance continued to take a toll on Aussie hip pockets in 2017–18, with consumers spending an additional $834 million on cover compared to 1 year ago, according to the latest report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The ACCC found that the cost of private health insurance rose by 3.6%, up from roughly $23.1 billion to $23.9 billion. This follows the previous year's increase, which saw the cost to consumers for private health insurance rise over $1 billion.

These price increases have not kept pace with inflation or wage growth, forcing many people to downgrade their cover or ditch private health insurance completely.

"People are increasingly feeling the pinch of private health premium increases and growing gap payments. In response, many are shifting to cheaper products with reduced coverage, and some are dropping their cover altogether," ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said in a statement.

Year$ paid ('000)

To try and curb these ever-increasing costs, the government announced a raft of reforms that will come into effect from 1 April 2019. However, since some of these reforms will mean updates to policies, the ACCC is warning health insurers to make sure that they communicate these changes to their customers in a clear and timely manner.

"Ahead of 1 April 2019, we will be monitoring to see how health funds are telling consumers about changes to their policies and benefits. Private health insurers need to be transparent about what is and isn't included in their policies or risk losing their customers' trust and ultimately, their business," Rickard said.

If you'd like to know more about the private health insurance reforms, be sure to read our guide to what's changing and when.

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