Government confirms another low private health insurance premium change

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Health minister Greg Hunt has announced private health insurance premiums will rise by an average 2.7 per cent in 2022.

The increases range from just 1 per cent for some health funds to a high of just over 5 per cent. The average increase in 2022 is slightly lower than the 2.74 per cent in 2021.

Minister Hunt said the average increase is the lowest since 2001. In 2001, insurers did not increase premiums, significantly in response to the introduction of the 30 per cent Private Health Insurance Rebate.

"The 2022 premium change is not only the lowest over two decades, but approximately half that of those when Labor was last in government," said Minister Hunt.

"Our Government has delivered on its commitment to improve the value and affordability of private health insurance, delivering the eighth successive decline in premiums changes since the Coalition was elected in 2013."

He said some insurers will not increase premiums until later in 2022, rather than the standard 1 April, as they are still going through the process of returning funds set aside in the early period of the pandemic in response to the temporary halt on some elective surgery.

Medibank has already confirmed it will defer its 3.1 increase to 1 September 2022.

The 2022 increase is set against the backdrop of a significant push for change, including to the pricing of medical devices.

"We continue to implement significant reforms and investments to improve the value and affordability for the 14 million Australians who have private health insurance, and to support the private healthcare sector to deliver quality care," said Minister Hunt.

Changes to the pricing of medical devices, through reform of the Prostheses List, are scheduled for implementation next year. However, it remains contentious with significant disagreement between insurers and the device sector.