Stability in the Australian private health sector

The latest figures on Australian private health insurance membership levels show that the private health sector continues to remain remarkably stable.

The March quarter data reveals 43.2 per cent of Australians have private health insurance. Membership rates have consistently remained at around 43 per cent over the past four years, following the introduction of Howard Government’s policies – the 30 per cent rebate and Lifetime Health Cover.

The 30 per cent rebate is worth $750 a year to a typical family and helps keep private health insurance affordable. A recent study by Professor Ian Harper and Chris Murphy found that if the government’s policies were removed, private health insurance hospital coverage would more than halve to just 19 per cent.

A strong public hospital system needs a stable private hospital sector. Private health insurance offers people choice, greater control over their health and peace of mind.

Membership figures in the December quarter were at 43.4 percent. A drop of just 0.2 per cent nationally is consistent with seasonal trends of previous years. This can relate to the 15-29 age group, where the number of persons covered can drop disproportionately early in the year as former student dependants move from family cover.

Premium support is important to every person who has private health insurance. This policy means premiums are cheaper for every member. The Howard Government is fully committed to keeping the 30 percent rebate in its entirety.

The public knows where the government stands. But where does Labor stand? Surely the public deserves to know.

Media contact: Kate Jordan 0417 425 227

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