By | May 20, 2012

According to Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing (2001). The main reason people were dropping private health insurance is the raising cost of premiums. The introduction of rebate will make private health insurance more easily affordable to both new and existing members and will halt the decline in the participation rate. It will give the industry the chance and will allow them to make the most of recent and proposed structural reforms. According to Wilson (1999) The Government agenda for private health insurance not only involves the rebate, but broad ranging structural changes to allow the industry to offer more attractive products and to become more competitive. The size of the rebate is equal to the financial support removed from the private sector over earlier years and the contribution made by private health insurance to public hospitals. With a considerable rise in funding for public hospitals through the Australian Health Care Agreements, the issue is not one of competing priorities, but complementary initiatives. Health insurance complements Australian system of universal access with around 80% of private patient hospital care coverage through private insurance. It is entirely reasonable for those exercising that choice to retain a substantial part of the funding from the public system, than for the uninsured. According to Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing (2001) there are strong arguments not to means test the rebate, evidences are suggesting that people who are in the middle to higher income bracket that are leaving private health insurance and that these are in fact the people who should be encouraged to retain their insurance to protect the risk pool and hence supporting community rating.



  • Government can increase the rebate from 30% to 40% if government wants to improve more in private health insurance membership. This will also attract lower income families.
  • Government can provide some flexibility in life time health cover for older people because at this time people who get membership after age of 30 have to pay 2% extra premium.
  • There are some suggestion from people especially those who are opposing this system according to cost (2003) subsidies to private health insurance has increased the pressure on public hospitals, and that better health outcomes could be achieved by government directly funding private hospitals and bypassing the private health insurance industry.
  •  According to cost (2003) utilizing the $2 billion cost of private health insurance rebates directly into private hospitals would be more useful in preventing  unnecessary leakages in the form of administration, ancillaries and gap payments that account for nearly half of the tax subsidy.
  • Changes to the reinsurance system that underwrites the community rating principles in the private health insurance sector, to promote efficiency and competition by giving incentives for funds to control utilization rates and unit costs (Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing 2001).
  • Changes to allow coverage of total episodes of care including alternatives to hospital care, like hospital in the home services (Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing 2001).
  • Changes to allow health funds to offer discounted premiums to groups based on administrative savings in order to develop a wholesale market for private health insurance (Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing 2001).




  • Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing (2001). The Australian Health Care System: An Outline. Retrieved on 01-10-2004 available at.
  • Australian Bureau of statistics (2003). Year Book Australia 2003 Health Private health insurance. Retrieved on 02-10-2004 available at.
  • Bloom, A. L. (2000). Health Reform in Australia and New Zealand. Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Cost, C. (2003). Doctors Reform Society of Australia, Politics in the Pub – Private Health Insurance and Medicare. Retrieved on 01-10-2004, available at.
  • Deeble, J. (2003). The Private Health Insurance Rebate – Report to State and Territory Health Ministers. National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health.
  • Duckett, S. J. (2002). The Australian Health Care System. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Gardner, H. (1992).  Health Policy Development, Implementation and Evaluation in Australia. Melbourne: Churchill Livingstone.
  • Harper, Ian. (2003). Preserving Choice: A Defence of Public Support for Private Health Care Funding of Australia. Harper Associates.
  • Kinna, A. (2003). Private Health Insurance: A Sad History of A System In Crisis. Retrieved on 02-10-2004 available at:


  • Makinen, M. (1993). Policy Options for Financing Health Services in Pakistan. Submitted to: U.S. AID Mission to Pakistan and Health Services Division Office of Health Bureau of Research and Development Agency for International Development. Retrieved on 08-10-2004, available at:
  • Private Health Insurance Administration Council (PHIAC), Quarterly Statistics (March 2002). Retrieved on 01-10-2004 available at:


  • Quicken (2003), Personal Finance Insurance: Health. Retrieved on 31-09-2004, available at:


  • Schofield, D. (1997). Behind the Decline: The Changing Composition of Private Health Insurance in Australia, 1983-95. Discussion Paper No. 17, National Centre for Social and Economic Modeling.


  • Wilson, J. (1999). An Analysis of Private Health Insurance Membership in Australia. Discussion Paper No. 46, National Centre for Social and Economic Modeling.




.29 PERSONS WITH PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE, Proportion of total population

Year ended 30 June

Quarter ended









June 2001

March 2002










With private hospital cover









With private ancillary cover










Source: Private Health Insurance Administration Council, ‘Quarterly Statistics March 2002’.



Source PHIAC 2001


Source: World Health Report 2000





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