Australians will pay an estimated extra $821 million per year for their private health insurance from April 1, but it's no April Fools' Day joke. The increased cost is a result of an average 5.56 percent increase announced recently by the federal government.
The increased cost is equal to more than 5 million baskets of groceries, or 8 million tanks of petrol. It would also be enough to buy groceries for 100,000 families for a year. .
According to Paul Cross, iSelect's general manager of corporate Affairs, private health insurance is one rising cost that Australians can do something about. .
"Australians need to understand what they actually need from their private health insurance, and shop around for a policy that better suits their needs and budget," Cross said. "By doing this, it can be possible to actually offset this increase in cost." .
Cross said there can be differences of hundreds of dollars between similar policies. .
"In fact, in some parts of Australia the difference in the cost of top hospital cover for a family is more than $900 over 12 months," he said. "This is a huge amount of money that families could be saving simply by shopping around." .
While the average increase is estimated to be $146 per policy annually, based on data obtained from the Private Health Insurance Administration Council, in reality some Australians will pay much more than this. .
"This is because 5.56 percent is the average increase consumers can expect so in reality, some will end up paying more, in some cases hundreds of dollars," Cross said. .
"It's no surprise that comparing policies can be difficult with literally hundreds of policies on the market, but it doesn't have to be. Shop around using a comparison service such as iSelect, which will help you compare policies and find the one that better suits your needs in one location." .
A recent poll conducted by iSelect highlighted the financial pressure Australian households are currently feeling. Two thirds of Australians of all ages with private health insurance said the cost of private health insurance has a significant impact on their household budget, and 97 percent of Australians were concerned about rising household costs overall. .
"These results highlight that the majority of Australians are concerned about rising prices and feeling the pinch. Health insurance is one rising cost that we can do something about," Cross said.