To cover the rising costs of healthcare, we will be increasing premiums effective from 1 April 2018. All members should receive details of their increase by letter or email (depending on your preferred method of contact) by 20 March 2018.
This page answers the most common questions about the 2018 premium increases. If you require more information please contact us on 1800 226 126 or email@example.com.
Why are premiums increasing?
The cost of providing health insurance is going up, and we are ensuring that we can continue supporting members with quality health insurance into the future.
Health inflation is running more than twice as high as the general inflation rate, which stems from a higher volume of health services being delivered (because of our ageing population) and the rising costs of providing these services due to increases in providers fees and advances in medical technology. The latest figures for the final quarter of 2017 put health inflation in Australia at 3.95%, and our weighted average premium increase was 2.28%.
Additionally, if you are claiming the rebate, the Government has reduced the percentage it contributes towards your premiums, which is a further contributor to your increase.
We only increase premiums to cover the cost of the claims we expect to pay and recorded the lowest average premium increase across all health funds this year. In fact, we have had the lowest increase in 3 out of the 4 past years, as well as the sixth consecutive year of below industry average increases.
My increase is higher than the average increase for the Fund (2.28%) published by the Department of Health. Why is this?
Each of our products are priced separately, and some have higher increases than others. The policies with above average increases reflect that we’ve paid a higher amount in benefits to members with those policies and we are forecasting higher benefits being paid in the coming year.
The pricing for each product varies from year to year depending on our claiming rates and we aim to always be equitable across all of our products, ensuring each one is sustainable so we can continue to provide quality cover and choice of cover to our members.
Additionally, if you are claiming the rebate, the Government has reduced the percentage it contributes towards your premiums. This is another reason for your increase being higher than the fund average since the published average increase for the fund doesn’t include the effect of the reduced Government rebates.
Do you increase premiums every year?
Doctors’ Health Fund conducts an annual review of member premiums to ensure they sustainably support the Fund and provide quality cover for our members into the future. All health insurers are required by law to submit details of their proposed premium increases to the Minister for Health, for his approval. The Minister only approves increases if the cost and benefit projections we provide can justify any increases.
The trend in recent years has been for all funds to increase their premiums due to the rising cost of providing health insurance, however we only increase premiums to cover the cost of the claims we expect to pay and we have been below the average industry increase for the last six years.
How has the Australian Government Rebate on Private health Insurance changed?
The federal government changes the private health insurance rebate each year, effective from 1 April.
This year the government rebate has been reduced at all levels, which means if you are claiming a rebate you will pay a larger proportion of your new premium from 1 April 2018 compared to the past. Effectively, the reduced rebate is a contributor to the increased premium you are required to pay.
See our Tax and other government health cover initiatives page for more information about the Rebate, or visit the Department of Health website.
When will I begin to pay this higher premium?
You will pay the new premium as of the date of your next contribution payment after 1 April 2018.
Is there any way I can reduce the premium I pay?
You can delay your premium increase by paying before 31 March 2018 (up to 31 March 2019 at the latest). There is also a 2.5% discount for paying your premium annually.
I have a single parent family policy. Is my premium increasing?
Doctors Health Fund will not be increasing your premiums however, if you are claiming the Australian Government rebate, the reduction in the rebate percentage that the government is contributing will mean your net premium will slightly increase.
Does the amount quoted on my letter include the rebate and loading?
Yes, the figure on your letter or email is the amount you will pay after 1 April. If you have nominated to receive the government rebate, the amount in the letter is after the rebate has been deducted. It also includes any lifetime health cover loading applied.
I can get cheaper cover with another fund.
It’s true there are cheaper covers in the market, but it’s important to be aware of what you may not be covered for with those policies. It’s also important to be aware how well those policies will perform if you need to make a claim. We have excellent performance across our range of Hospital and Extras policies averaging over 90% of our members’ hospital-related charges covered1, we are above the industry average for paying in-hospital medical services with no Gap2, and we pay for a higher proportion of members’ Extras treatment charges than the industry average3. Furthermore our average premium increase has been below the industry weighted average for the past six years.
I’m a journalist and am seeking comment from you about the premium rate rise
Please email your details to firstname.lastname@example.org and someone from our media office will respond to you.