Time reveals the facts on private health

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The extent of the private sector's growing contribution to Australia's health system is clearly evident in statistics released by Private Healthcare Australia.

In its statistics update for the June quarter 2017, the association has shown the dramatic growth in the private sector's contribution over the past two decades.

In the twelve months to December 1998, the final full year before introduction of what was then the 30 per cent private health insurance rebate, private health insurers paid hospital benefits of just $3 billion. In the twelve months to June 2017, that had grown by a staggering 382 per cent to $14.6 billion.

Just 1.5 million hospital episodes funded in 1998 has grown to 4.4 million in the twelve months to June 2017.

Over the same period, general treatment services covered rose from 29.5 million to 89.8 million, a rise of 204 per cent.

Total benefits paid rose 373 per cent, from just $4.1 billion to $19.6 billion, and the number of Australians with private health insurance increased 84.8 per cent from 7.3 million to 13.5 million.