Ms Nicola Roxon the Minister Health and Ageing has released confirmation that she has approved an average health insurance premium increase of 5.87 per cent. This increase is lower than last year of 6.02 per cent.
Ms Roxon said benefits paid to private health insurance members increased by 9.3 per cent to $11bn in 2008-09, while the CPI for hospital and medical services last year was 5.9 per cent.
“Today’s premium adjustment by Health Minister Nicola Roxon acknowledges the increasing cost of healthcare and identifies an expected increase of 7.94 per cent in expenditure by funds on behalf of their 11.4 million members in the coming 12 months,” Australian Health Insurance Association chief executive Michael Armitage said. He said the premium increases acknowledged the increasing cost of healthcare and were needed to pay for the provision of services and to meet statutory prudential requirements.
HICA chief executive Suzanne Still advises that the actual increase an individual may experience will vary from policy to policy and from fund to fund. “All private health insurance members can expect to receive notification from their existing fund about their specific premium increase in the coming weeks. In addition to an increase in premiums some funds may have altered benefit limits, services, excess’s and discount eligibility for method of payment” Still says.
“At this time of year it is important to review your policy to ensure that it provides appropriate cover for your needs at a reasonable cost,” Still said.
The Private Health Insurance Ombudsman also recommends people review their cover at least one a year.
“We understand that assessing changes to health insurance policies and determining whether your cover is still appropriate and value for money in the market place is a daunting task. Which is why we wish to remind people that HICA provides free professional assistance and advice” Still said.
People may also be able to ‘beat the rate rise and take advantage of ‘Rate Protection’ rules. Some funds allow people to ‘lock in’ current premiums for up to a further twelve months if you pay the annual or pro rata premium prior to the 15th March 2011. Rate protection rules and eligibility and the ‘cut off’ date may vary from fund to fund. Contact a HICA consultant toll free on 1300 732 757 to discuss rate protection or whether an alternative cover can provide a superior proposition.
Take advantage of HICA’s free health insurance advisory service and obtain a quotation by contacting HICA toll free on 1300 732 757 or by completing an assessment form online at www.hica.com.au