New data reveals drop as parliament considers age discount

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New data from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has revealed a decline in the number of Australians with hospital treatment private health insurance in 2017.

The data covering the full year 2017 reveals the drop of just over 21,000, from 11.327 million to 11.306 million, was driven by a decline in the number of young Australians with hospital cover.

"There were generally decreases in hospital treatment membership across younger age groups and increases across older age groups in the year to December 2017," it said.

"The largest per cent decline over 2017 was in the age group 25 to 29 (down 5.3%), while the largest increase was in the age group 90 to 94 (up 8.2%). The 25 to 29 age group recorded the largest decline in insured persons over the year (down 27,536 people), while the 70 to 74 age group experienced the largest increase in insured persons (up 36,282 people)."

The government has announced a raft of reforms designed to address concerns over the affordability of private health insurance.

Legislation enabling the reforms is currently under consideration by a Senate inquiry.

One of the reforms will enable private health insurers to offer an aged-based discount of up to 10 percent for people aged under 30.