The Abbott Government’s second consecutive decade high rise in Private Health Insurance take effect from today, adding hundreds of dollars to the cost of premiums.
The average 6.18 per cent rise comes on the back of last year’s decision by the Abbott Government to approve a decade high rise of 6.2 per cent in premiums.
The increase is almost three time the inflation rate, and will add around $200 to the cost of annual premium for family hospital cover, and over $250 for those not eligible for the tax rebate.
In 2006, Tony Abbott promised that:
“premium rises, like any interest rate increase, will always be less under a coalition government than under any alternative.”
Tony Abbott National Press Club – 2 August 2006
In fact the two rises approved since the 2013 election are the two highest increases since the coalition was last in power, when Tony Abbott, as Health Minister, ticked off three successive rises exceeding 7 per cent.
Rather than being lower under the Coalition, both of the rises approved under Tony Abbott exceed any of the six annual increases approved under Labor.
Unlike the Coalition, Labor, in government, put pressure on the health insurance sector to ensure the lowest possible premium rises.
Labor also provided $1.4 million to increase the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman’s capacity to manage complaints and respond to consumer enquiries and $2.3 million to establish the Private Health Insurance Premiums and Competition Unit.
These successive above six per cent increases are yet another slap in the face for families from a government which slashed more than $50 billion from hospital funding, and then sought to hit families with a tax on visits to the GP and extra charges for essential medicines.
Now it has waved through the two biggest rises in private health insurance premiums in a decade, adding to the increasing burden on family budgets.