Australians have ignored concerns regarding the government's plan to means test the 30 per cent private health insurance rebate, with the level of private cover rising in the March quarter.
According to the latest quarterly statistics released by the Private Health Insurance Administration Council, almost 46 per cent of all Australians now have private hospital cover, while general treatment memberships also rose by 0.2 per cent to cover 53.2 per cent of the population.
Health minister Tanya Plibersek welcomed the news and was happy to see that Australians have not been discouraged from taking up private cover.
"In fact, at the time of the debate, every day more than 550 Australians … joined up to health funds and ensured the industry continued to be vibrant and profitable," she said yesterday (May 16).
"Means testing the private health insurance rebate means that low and middle income Australians no longer subsidise the health insurance of higher income Australians."
The number of single and family policies rose by 10,358 and 14,119 respectively over the three-month period – most notably of which came from the 65 to 69 age group.
Dental services remain the category to which the most benefits are paid, with insurers contributing $470 million during the March quarter.