Healthy rise slugs insurance customers

GRIFFITH residents with private health insurance were slugged with the highest price rise in a decade on Tuesday.

Health insurers hiked premiums up an average 6.2 per cent across all providers after health minister Peter Dutton gave approval.

Branch manager of not-for-profit insurer HCF, the only insurer with a branch in Griffith, Karen Fallon said new technology was responsible for the premium rise.

"Most people want to look after their health, just like if you have a nice car you want good insurance and what's more important than your own health?" she said.

"The prices are rising because of increases in medical costs which come about because there are always new inventions and new ways of doing things.

"Of course people want the latest technology when they have any treatment and that costs money, especially medical procedures being refined by microsurgery."

Ms Fallon said dental, optical and physiotherapy were increasingly popular components of local health cover packages.

"Most families want to be covered for as much as they can as cheap as possible, but also want to be covered for basic things like getting their tonsils out, heart attacks and other things that happen without warnings.

"We don't have to look after shareholders, so we give back 91 cents in the dollar whereas the average fund which needs to look after the shareholder gives back 86 cents in the dollar.

"The government also made changes to their rebate and they're no longer prepared to pay 30 per cent so the change means the price increase was higher."

According to the manager of an online comparison website Julie Ryburn, Griffith residents need to do their research to make sure they spent their money wisely.

"Now is an important time for consumers to review their current health policy by comparing its costs and benefits with those offered by other health funds," the helpmechoose.com.au boss said.

"However, it's also important not to base decisions on price alone and ensure you carefully review individual policies.

"There are plenty of tools and services available for consumers wanting to find the most suitable policy for their needs and Griffith residents need to make sure they make the most of them."

The news came as the government decided to sell Medibank Private next financial year.

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