Need to know
- Health insurance premiums will go up by 2.9% on average in April, but some funds including Medibank, Bupa, HCF and NIB will again delay the increase
- The average increase is 2.9%, but some health funds have increased their prices by more, including several large insurers
- Due to the lower than normal premium increase, the rebate stays the same in 2023
Health insurance premiums will increase on 1 April 2023 by an average of 2.9%. This is only slightly higher than last year's 2.7% average increase, but some funds will have bigger price hikes than others.
The lowest 'increases' this year are Health Care Insurance, which is reducing premiums by an average of 0.09%, and Police Health, which will leave premiums the same on average. CBHS Corporate has the largest average increase for the third year in a row with a 5.38% price hike across their policies.
Several big insurers have announced above-average increases, and several funds including Bupa, Medibank and NIB will delay their health insurance premium increases:
- Medibank will delay its 2.96% premium increase until 1 June 2023 (this includes AHM).
- Bupa will delay its 3.39% premium increase until 1 July 2023.
- NIB will delay its 2.72% premium increase until 1 September 2023 (this includes Qantas Health).
- HCF will delay its 3.33% premium increase until 1 September 2023 (this includes RT Health).
- HBF – will increase its premiums by 4.49% on 1 April (this includes CUA).
Your health fund will let you know your policy's actual increase before the increase takes effect. If you can afford to pre-pay a full year's premium, you can lock in 12 (or in some cases up to 18) months of cover at that year's prices.
But before prepaying your premium it's a good idea to compare health insurance policies to make sure you're still getting the best deal.
"This year's premium price hike will be tough for many consumers given the current cost of living pressures," says CHOICE senior campaigner Dean Price.
"The average increase may be lower than other years but people should check how much their specific policy has gone up as it will vary. Some funds had average increases of up to 5.38%."
"People can shop around and lock in a price if they pre-pay before 1 April each year, but that is only a short-term solution to the long-term challenges in the market," says Price.
Private health rebate will stay the same in 2023
While the average premium increase gets a lot of attention, the cost of your premium went up on 1 April 2021 for another reason: a reduction in the private health insurance rebate. But like last year, this year the rebate is likely to stay the same, as the premium increase was lower than usual.
A cut of the premium happens depending on how much premiums increase compared to the rate of inflation: the bigger the difference, the more the rebate goes down. As there was no difference this year, the rebate stays the same.
In 2021 it dropped by about half a percentage point, to 24.6% for under 65s on the base tier income. Older people and wealthy households receive different rebate amounts.
The rebate amount is recalculated every year on the same day premiums go up. It was frozen for 12 months at the beginning of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.