Bupa to increase health insurance premiums

Following approval by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt earlier today, Bupa announced an average health insurance premium increase of 4.9 per cent. This change will take effect from 1 April 2017.

NOTE: This information has since been updated. Find the 2018 announcement explaining the latest Bupa Private Health Insurance increases and changes here.

While it may vary according to policy and state, on average, Bupa health insurance premiums will increase by around $2 per week for single members and $4 per week for families (before any rebate or discount).

Managing Director of Bupa Health Insurance Dr Dwayne Crombie said the company recognised the pressures these price increases placed on many Australian families and would continue to work on addressing affordability concerns.

"We understand that increasing health insurance costs create difficulties for many Australians and we continue to look at ways to keep our member’s costs as affordable as possible and to deliver better value," Dr Crombie said.

"While we believe that in many ways Australia has a world-class health system, there are several areas of waste and inefficiency which flows through to consumers and ultimately increases the cost of their insurance premiums.

"It is for this reason that we are working hard with governments, hospitals, doctors and our networks to tackle these rising healthcare costs which we recognise are unsustainable."

Dr Crombie said premium increases are being driven by many complex factors. These include:

  • Australia's ageing population which needs more medical and surgical care;
  • New and more expensive medical technology and treatment options;
  • Increasing use of services;
  • Rising consumer expectations about the tests and treatments members want to receive;
  • The increasing costs of healthcare providers, and;
  • A decrease in the Australian Government Private Health Insurance Rebate amount.

"Most of these costs are outside the control of health insurers, and they explain why average premium increases run above the rate of general inflation," Dr Crombie added.

"Some costs – for example for prostheses items – are set by Government. Late last year the Government announced it would reduce the price of some prostheses items. We have guaranteed to pass on every cent of these price reductions to our customers. This year that equates to about $12 off the price of each policy, but those cuts can go deeper.

"Australians are still unjustifiably paying amongst the highest prices in the world for the medical prostheses, and we are asking the Government for further price reductions, that will also be passed on to our customers."

Dr Crombie said while the costs of premiums were increasing, private cover continues to give people peace of mind when it comes to their health.

"Private health insurance allows you to be treated in a private or public hospital as a private patient. This means that you may be able to choose the doctor that treats you, the hospital you are treated in and a time for treatment that suits you. Private health insurance also provides cover for services not covered by Medicare such as physio, dental, optometry and podiatry. Many people rely on private health insurance to access services they would otherwise be unable to afford."

About Bupa

Bupa is a diverse health and care group which has been committed to a purpose of longer, healthier, happier lives for close to 70 years.

In Australia and New Zealand, Bupa supports more than 6 million customers through a broad range of health and care services including health insurance, aged care, rehabilitation, dental, optical, medical, hearing and medical visa services.

Employing more than 18,000 people, we believe that we can make a real difference to the lives of Australians and New Zealanders through our values, purpose and the way that we deliver personalised care.

With no shareholders, we are able to reinvest our profits into improving the quality of health and care services. Since 2002 we have reinvested approximately $6bn in Australia and New Zealand, while the Bupa Health Foundation has invested over $26 million to support more than 100 health and care projects.