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%.
“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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