Tony Abbott Says A Possible 7% Hike In Private Health Insurance Is A 'Commercial Decision'

PM Tony Abbott with former health minister Peter Dutton. Photo: Getty

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says “it is up to the market to set the price” of private health insurance, with premiums reportedly set to rise between 6% and 7%.

Although new Health Minister Sussan Ley must approve any cost increases, the PM said it was up to funds and their members to agree on an acceptable cost structure, the Guardian reported.

“In the end, as I said, it is up to the market to set the price. The premiums that people pay is a matter between the fund members and the funds … we expect that funds will do their best by their members, but in the end, this is a commercial decision,” Abbott said.

The PM added that he couldn’t recall “interfering” in this process during his time as health minister in the mid-2000s.

According to the SMH, industry executives attributed the potential hike in charges to increased care costs, expensive medical technology and a rise in the use of services.

Private Healthcare Australia chief executive Dr Michael Armitage said a jump in premiums was unavoidable given patient payouts rose 9.1% last year.

“There has to be an increase in contributions to cover that increase,” he said.

The new price structure, once agreed upon, will take effect by April.

Despite a lack of intervention in the private sector, the Government continues to alter and reverse policy decisions in regards to Medicare.

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