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1 in 3 Australians without private health insurance worry about lack of cover

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A new survey[1] points to a lack of confidence in the nation’s public health system as 1 in 3 (34%) Australians without private health insurance admit to worrying about their lack of cover.

With long waiting periods and the cost of private hospital admission top of mind, the research commissioned by comparethemarket.com.au reveals that Gen Ys voice most concern. Results show 42% of Australians aged 25-34 years worry about their lack of private health cover more than any other age bracket, followed closely by those aged 18-24 years (35%). Gen X isn’t far away, with 1 in 3 (33%) aged 35-44 years also admitting to feeling worried, followed by 30% of 45-54-year-olds.

Those Australians with ‘safe’ income levels – who aren’t earning enough to have to pay the Government’s Medicare Levy Surcharge – are also apprehensive about having no cover as 1 in 3 families (34%) with a combined income less than $176,000 admit to worrying, followed closely by singles earning less than $88,000 (32%).

Grant Waldeck, spokesperson at comparethemarket.com.au says, “The reality is that Australians without private health cover should be considering their health insurance options, even if they have a clean bill of health. Uncertainty around how quickly they can receive treatment on the public health system waves a red flag for many.”

When asked their main concern around not having private health cover, 1 in 5 (22%) respondents said they worry about high private hospital admission costs due to an unexpected injury or illness. Long waiting periods for admission to a public hospital was a concern among nearly 1 in 3 respondents (28%).

When it came to considering the costs of private health insurance, only 38% of Australians correctly stated that single basic hospital cover insurance policies start from less than $1000 per year. And, when questioned why they didn’t have health insurance, nearly 70% claimed it was because premiums were too expensive. This indicates the mismatch between people’s perceptions and the actual cost of health insurance is preventing them from taking out private health cover.

“When comparing hospital cover online, many Australians will be surprised at just how affordable premiums can be. Basic hospital cover for a 25-year-old male starts as low as $565[2] per year. If this male had no policy, routine surgery such as an appendix removal could cost around $12,264. Looking at these figures side by side, it’s obvious consumers should be considering private health insurance,” says Grant.

One in 3 Australians (34%) admitted they need more information and knowledge about the benefits of private health insurance, and the disadvantages of not having it, to make a decision to purchase it. Around 1 in 5 (19%) Australians aged 18-24 years admit they don’t have health insurance as they don’t know enough about it to make a purchase decision.

Nearly half (47%) of the survey respondents also admitted to not knowing that Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) was a 2% loading on hospital cover for every year they delay health insurance after 31.

Comparethemarket.com.au is a leading health insurance comparison space with a panel of 13 health insurers.

[1]Respondents were Australian residents without private health insurance, split fairly equally across gender and age brackets, across all Australian states. Survey conducted by Pure Profile. Questions answered online. Findings rounded to the nearest percentage.

[2]Based on hospital cover (private patient in a public hospital) for a 25 year old male living in NSW, earning under $88,000.

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