Need to know
- Health insurance premiums are going up throughout 2022
- The average increase is 2.7%, but some health funds will increase their prices more, including several large insurers
- Due to the lower than normal premium increase, the rebate stays the same in 2022
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Most health insurance premiums increased on 1 April 2022 by an average of 2.7%. It's the second consecutive year of the lowest average annual increase since 2001, but some funds will have bigger price hikes than others.
Several big insurers announced above-average increases, but many health funds will delay price increases until later in 2022. These include NIB (1 September), Bupa and Medibank (1 October) and HCF (1 November). Find out more about which health funds are delaying their premium increases.
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 months of cover at that year's prices.
Health insurance costs are growing faster than inflation
Despite the lowest increase in two decades, health insurance premiums are still growing quicker than wages or inflation, raising concerns that affordability is spiralling out of control.
"This year's premium price hike made people question their need for expensive health insurance," 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 5.33%."
Premiums have increased by 54% in the last decade, while the consumer price index (a measure of inflation) grew only 20%.
"The federal government needs to take real action to address issues that industry is unwilling or unable to fix themselves – we need a full review of the private health system," says Price.
"People can shop around and lock in a price if they pre-pay before 1 April each year, but that is a short-term solution when people have been crying out for real action on price and value."
Private health rebate will stay the same in 2022
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 this year the rebate stays 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 will 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.