Private health insurance “unaffordable”
More than three-quarters of Australians with private health insurance struggle to meet the cost of their policies, according to a report by the consumer advocacy group Choice.
In the survey, private health insurance was named as the second greatest concern in terms of cost-of-living expenses, behind electricity.
“A lot of people do want private health insurance, but the sad fact is that it’s just becoming unaffordable,”
a Choice spokesman, Tom Godfrey, told The Guardian.
Private health insurance premiums increased by 3.95 per cent from the beginning of April – an extra $143 a year for a family and $73 a year more for a single person. Premiums have increased by an average of 5.6 per cent every year since 2010.
Tony Godfrey said Australians appeared to be at a tipping point in their view of private health insurance.
“We’re seeing people dropping out of the private system, and our research has shown that that is because it’s too expensive,” he said.
Meanwhile The Australian reports that members of health insurance funds will need legal protection from unexpected tax debts after “an extraordinary misinterpretation of insurance rules”.
Twelve insurers are offering benefit restrictions that include waiting periods made illegal when Tony Abbott was health minister in 2007.