Australians urged to review health insurance amid premium hikes

Millions of Australians are facing a hike in their health insurance premiums on Thursday as the big players pass through significant price increases.

Medibank and AHM customers will pay 2.96 per cent more on average after the delayed premium rises come into effect on June 1, following a 3.1 per cent increase in January.

More than 3.9 million Australians will be affected, analysis site Compare The Market says, though the exact increase will differ between customers and health insurance plan types.

Lana Hambilton, head of health insurance at Compare The Market, said the successive price increases were due to delays in increasing premiums in 2022 and 2023.

“Health insurers typically adjust premiums each year on April 1, but Medibank and AHM are among the funds that decided to delay the increase,” she said.

“The price hike in January was to reflect 2022’s annual increase, which Medibank and AHM chose to delay by nine months.”

Assess your coverage

Such steep increases add more pressure on budgets amid the cost-of-living crisis, but there are ways to ease the squeeze by assessing your plan.

Elizabeth Deveny, chief executive of the Consumers Health Forum, urged Australians to reflect on whether their health coverage is meeting their needs, and avoid a “set and forget” mindset.

For example, you could consider whether there are unnecessary services in your extras cover, or even think about how much value your type of hospital cover is delivering each year.

“Private health insurance is transferable so it’s worth shopping around and, given the current cost-of-living pressures, it’s more important than ever to compare options and get the best deal,” Dr Deveny told The New Daily.

“Consumers don’t have to serve new waiting periods if they transfer to a policy at the same level. People should think about what they want coverage for, and how much they can afford to pay.”

Dr Deveny said the government’s comparison website – – is a good place to start looking at different levels of cover from various insurers.

That website has a calculator that lets you plug in your coverage needs and estimate what your premiums will be – including which insurer in the market offers the best deal.

For example, basic hospital cover for Victorians without any specialist requirements or extras costs between $104 and $376 per month (between 193 policies).

But some prices rise to more than $600 a month when extras cover is added on, demonstrating the benefits of finding cover that suits you.

Think switch, not ditch

In assessing whether your health cover suits your needs, you might want to consider consulting your GP about your personal and family medical history to make sure you’re covered properly.

Any children covered under the policy should also be considered, with extras like dental, for example, likely to be of higher value to families looking to set up teeth care plans for children.

This is particularly important because key healthcare services like dental and optical aren’t covered under the public Medicare scheme, meaning private insurance is the only cover.

Ms Hambilton said Australians should first think about switching their health cover before outright ditching private insurance in the face of premium increases.

That’s because public wait times for elective surgery, which blew out during COVID, can be lengthy.

“Public wait times continue to blow out around the country and with flu season just around the corner and COVID-19 cases expected to spike in the cooler months, there’s the potential for elective surgeries to be further postponed,” Ms Hambilton said.

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