TURNBULL’S PRIVATE HEALTH FAIL – 70 CENTS A WEEK FOR YOUNG PEOPLE, PREMIUMS TO INCREASE FOR EVERYONE ELSE
A young person paying the average $1800 a year for private health insurance will only save 70 cents a week under the Turnbull Government’s too-little-too-late private health insurance package – and Australians who rely the most on private health insurance will continue to see their premiums climb.
It’s clear from this package that the Turnbull Government only cares about getting as many people as possible to sign up for private health insurance – it doesn’t care about what happens when they try to use it.
Older Australians and families – who rely on private health insurance the most – won’t see a dollar returned to their back pocket as a result of this announcement. Instead, they face more private health insurance pain from further premium increases in April.
The Government has traded off increases in excesses for the prospect of slightly lower premiums. Maximum permitted excesses for private hospital insurance will increase from $500 to $750 for singles and from $1,000 to $1,500 for couples/families. As a result, vulnerable and low-income people could face unexpected medical expenses when they need their private health insurance.
Malcolm Turnbull has broken an election promise to act on junk private health insurance policies – something that groups such as the Australian Medical Association and CHOICE have been calling on them to fix. As a result, patients will continue to be caught out by products that don’t cover essential procedures.
Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare Catherine King said that while it is good to get young people into private health insurance, premiums will continue to go up for people who are paying the most and rely on private health insurance the most – older Australians and families.
“Older Australians and families are paying an average of $900 more every year for their private health insurance under the Liberals,” said Ms King.
“There are some positive things in this announcement – Labor welcomes savings from the Prostheses List, and we acknowledge the constructive collaboration of device manufacturers and private health insurers to put downwards pressure on next year’s premiums and make private health insurance more transparent. We also welcome the Government’s decision to adopt Labor’s policy of removing the private health insurance subsidy from non-evidence based natural therapy.
“But the people who pay the most for private health, and use the most private health, will continue to see their premiums increase next year. The damage has already been done.”
· Almost 70% of Australians with private health insurance are aged over 30 – and they are responsible for 90% of private health insurance episodes. An additional 24% are aged under 19 – and are likely to be on family policies. Source
· Private health insurance premiums have increased by 23% since 2014. Source
· Mature couples and families with obstetrics cover pay the most for private health insurance – around $380 per month. In 2017, mature couples and families had an average increase to their private health insurance premiums of $200 a year. Source
· In March- June this year there was a decrease in hospital treatment coverage of 34,775 insured people in only three months. Source
· Almost 40% of all PHI policies have some form of exclusion (at March 2017) compared with only 8.6% in 2007. Source
FRIDAY, 13 OCTOBER 2017