Why are premiums increasing?

Premium increases for all private health insurers were approved by the Minister for Health on 19 December 2018 to take effect on 1 April 2019. All health funds are required to justify their premium increases in order for them to be approved. Only when the Minister and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) are happy that the increases are absolutely necessary, are they approved.

Healthcare costs have risen over the past 12 months and premiums have risen to reflect this. Some of the key reasons for increasing premiums are:

  • Changes in relation to the Private Health Insurance Reforms
  • Australia’s ageing population
  • High numbers of hospital admissions
  • Increases in chronic conditions
  • Changes to the Australian Government Rebate on private health insurance
  • Increased uses/costs of medical technology
  • Increasing costs of hospital procedures. Some examples of how much each procedure costs (based on private hospital admissions received by Westfund for the 2018 calendar year)
Average Patient Charges in 2018
Hospital Psychiatric Services $18,039
Lens Procedures $5,769
Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy $2,830
Hip Replacement $23,741
Knee Replacement $21,744
Caesarean Delivery $10,515
Vaginal Delivery $6,831

While nobody likes to pay more, our premiums must keep pace with the rising costs of healthcare to ensure our viability and to allow us to offer competitive pricing and products.