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Millions of Aussies cop $121 cost-of-living blow

Private health insurance companies are hiking their premiums from April 1.

More than 14 million Aussies will see their health insurance premiums increase from today, in a blow to those battling cost-of-living pressures.

Private health insurance premiums will rise by 3.03 per cent, on average, across the industry, adding an extra $121 to people’s premiums.

This marks the biggest increase to premiums in five years and is higher than the 2.9 per cent increase policyholders were dealt in 2023.

People walking and Australian cash money. Health insurance premiums and cost of living concept.
Health insurance customers will be hit with higher premiums from today. (Source: AAP/Getty)

Do you have a story to share? Contact tamika.seeto@yahooinc.com

Some major insurers have made price increases higher than average. For Medibank customers, premiums will go up 3.31 per cent, for Bupa by 3.61 per cent, HBF by 3.95 per cent, HCF by 2.89 per cent, and nib by 4.1 per cent.

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Compare Club found Aussies with one of these “Big Five” health funds would be copping an increase closer to 3.57 per cent. This adds up to an extra $96 for singles, $181 for families and $201 for families with the major funds.

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Health Minister Mark Butler, who approved the increase, noted this year’s rise was smaller than the annual rise in wages, pensions and inflation. Wages rose by 4.2 per cent and inflation by 4.1 per cent in 2023, while social security payments increased in line with inflation.

Butler had rejected initial proposals from the industry in December, which insurers believed to have put forward increases as high as 6 per cent.

Save hundreds on health insurance

Money expert Joel Gibson wrote for Yahoo Finance that there were things you could do to cut costs, rather than dumping health insurance altogether.

“Can you remove cover you don’t need, such as pregnancy or joint replacements? If so, you might be able to downgrade from Gold to Silver, or Silver to Bronze cover, and save hundreds of dollars,” Gibson wrote.

There are two types of health insurance policies - ‘hospital’ and ‘extras’. If you’re paying more for out-of-hospital ‘extras’ like dental, physio and optometry than you claim, you could consider ditching this with no tax penalties.

Another option is increasing your excess to the maximum of $1,500 for families/couples and $750 for singles, Gibson said, which could also cut your premium by hundreds.

Read his full list of tips to save money on health insurance here.

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