It's that time of year again. On April 1, health insurance premiums will rise across the board in Australia, prompting yet another raid on your abused piggy bank. Here's an overview of the damage.
Piggy Bank picture from Shutterstock
Private health insurance premiums are regulated by the Federal Government. Each year, health insurers apply to have their increased premiums approved; a summary of which can be read at the Department of Health and Ageing's website.
The price hikes are supposed to cover the increasing cost of treatments and services and also help maintain sufficient capital to meet prudential standards and benefit outlays. A higher utilisation of treatments and services, an increasingly ageing membership profile and investment in chronic disease management programs are also factors contributing to the increase.
For those who missed the memo, the average premium increase for 2013 is as follows:
For the 2013 premium round, the industry weighted average premium increase is 5.6%. The premium increases will take effect from 1 April 2013.
This is roughly comparable to last year's increase, which averaged out at 5.56 per cent. The increases work out to around $200 extra per year.
Here's a table of premium increases by insurance provider:
|ACA Health Benefits Fund Limited||5.89%|
|Australian Unity Health Limited||5.23%|
|BUPA Australia Pty Limited||5.80%|
|CBHS Health Fund Limited||4.59%|
|Cessnock District Health Benefits Fund Limited||5.55%|
|CUA Health Limited||4.62%|
|Defence Health Limited||4.02%|
|The Doctors’ Health Fund Pty Limited||3.78%|
|HBF Health Limited||3.75%|
|Health Care Insurance Limited||3.95%|
|Health Insurance Fund of Australia Limited||4.47%|
|Healthguard Health Benefits Fund Limited||3.86%|
|Health Partners Limited||3.40%|
|Health.com.au Pty Limited||5.76%|
|The Hospitals Contribution Fund of Australia Limited||5.74%|
|Latrobe Health Services Limited||6.21%|
|Medibank Private Limited||6.20%|
|Mildura District Hospital Fund Limited||5.75%|
|National Health Benefits Australia Pty Limited||5.75%|
|NIB Health Funds Limited||6.50%|
|Navy Health Limited||4.80%|
|Phoenix Health Fund Limited||5.47%|
|Police Health Limited||4.09%|
|Queensland Country Health Fund Limited||5.74%|
|Queensland Teachers’ Union Health Fund Limited||4.50%|
|Railway & Transport Health Fund Limited||4.29%|
|Reserve Bank Health Society Limited||4.31%|
|St Luke's Medical & Hospital Benefits Association Limited||3.96%|
|Teachers Federation Health Limited||4.10%|
|Transport Health Pty Limited||6.77%|
When compared to 2012, there is less disparity between health insurers this year, with all increases falling somewhere between 3.23 per cent and 6.81 per cent. (Last year, some premiums went up by less than two per cent while others jumped by almost 15 per cent.)
If you'd like to avoid these increases, you can pay your premiums in advance ahead of the rate change. (If you’ve paid for 12 months of cover prior to April 1, you’ll be covered by the rate that applied when you paid in advance, not the post-April 1 rate.)