Impending Health Insurance Hikes Set to Impact Five Million Australians

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In a few weeks time, around five million Australians will have to bear the burden of another increase in the cost of living as leading health insurance providers hike their premiums. Bupa, NIB, and GMHBA have announced their plans to bump up policy prices from the start of October, with the average industry increase projected at 2.9%.

The exact rise in costs will differ based on individual policies. Nonetheless, the price comparison firm, Compare the Market, warns that certain Australians may wind up paying an additional $170 annually due to this increase.

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Approximately 4.1 million Australians are under Bupa’s coverage, NIB boasts of 651,000 policyholders, and GMHBA encompasses around 370,000 subscribers.

The impending increase in premium rates for the year 2023 are spread out in the following manner:

  • NIB: 2.72%
  • BUPA: 3.39%
  • GMHBA: 2.33%
  • Frank: 2.33%
  • Qantas: 2.72%

It is important to note that major players in the insurance industry such as AHM, Medibank, AIA, and HCF have already executed an increase in their premiums.

Lana Hambilton, who heads the health insurance sector at Compare the Market, attributed the surge in premium prices to the escalating costs associated with providing healthcare. Increased prices in everyday life are mirrored in the healthcare industry where the expenditure on high-quality patient care is escalating, she explained.

Hambilton went on to say that in the face of these rising costs, Australia’s health funds have found themselves with no option but to transfer these charges onto the customer. She elaborated further, stating that a multitude of factors dictate insurance premiums such as the particular health fund, extent of cover, and area of residence.

In light of these varying increases amongst different funds, she suggested policyholders reassess their plans to ensure their policies are valuable for them. She advised those whose lifestyle or health requirements have undergone a change, to consider switching policies.

One may find it cost-effective to switch to a different provider for comparable coverage, or to revise their policy to a less comprehensive level of cover that still caters to their individual health requirements. She also indicated the ongoing strain on the public system, emphasizing that maintaining private health insurance assures that inpatient hospital treatment is accessible when required.