Four million Australians will benefit from lower health insurance premium increases this year, according to the health minister.
Tanya Plibersek announced today (January 18) that the average annual increase of 5.06 per cent in private health insurance premiums in 2012 is the lowest figure recorded in four years.
By comparison, she noted that last year's increase averaged 5.56 per cent. This year's private health insurance premium increase will take effect from April 1 and details of the changes will be posted to the Department of Health and Aging's website.
A total of seven of the country's private health insurers reduced their premium increases, Plibersek noted, adding that 24 of 34 providers were instructed to re-submit their applications to increase premiums this year.
The Commonwealth assesses private health insurance premium applications on an annual basis to ensure that prices only go up by the minimum amount that is required to meet legal requirements.
New increases in premiums represent an ideal time for many people with private health insurance cover to shop around to ensure they are getting a policy that suits their requirements at the best price possible.
More than 10.4 million Aussies currently have private hospital cover – a figure that Plibersek noted is the highest recorded since June 1975.