A report suggests health minister Greg Hunt has asked many private health insurers to try again on their annual request for premium increases.
The report in News Ltd publications says Minister Hunt has told insurers next year's average annual increase needs to be lower than last year's 2.7 per cent. Last year's increase was the lowest in two decades.
It says the minister wrote to 24 of 32 private health insurers late last week asking them to consider resubmitting with a lower requested increase.
This year's process is complicated by the ongoing return of the deferred claims liability accrued by insurers during the pandemic.
The ACCC's annual report on private health insurance to the Senate says its return has been delayed by extended restrictions on surgery and other health services in some states.
The annual premium increase process is also set against the backdrop of an ongoing and contentious process for the reform of the Prostheses List.
Reform of the PL, which is the framework under which private insurers fund medical devices and technologies, is a key plank of the federal government's push to limit annual increases in premiums.