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More pain to the hip pocket as another round of private health price hikes confirmed

Reviewed by expert, David Koch
5 min read
5 Mar 2024
couple with health insurance rate rise

Millions of Australians with private health insurance will soon be paying even more for their policy, with the Federal Government today announcing another price hike.

From April 1, private health insurance premiums will increase by an industry average of 3.03%. However, this is just an average, and the actual jump in premiums will vary between insurance providers and your individual policy. Either way, it means some households could be paying hundreds of dollars more a year for private health insurance.

Compare the Market’s Economic Director, David Koch, said health insurance premiums typically increase every year on April 1.

“Many health funds chose to delay their premium increases in 2023, meaning this upcoming increase will be a lot sooner than expected for some people,” Mr Koch said.

“Health funds are increasing premiums by an average of 3.03%, but the hikes can vary widely between providers and policies.

“Now’s the time to ensure you’re not paying more than you need to for insurance. You may be able to secure the same level of coverage elsewhere for a lower price.”

According to Mr Koch, premium increases aren’t a cash grab from insurance companies, but rather a necessity for healthcare professionals to continue providing services of the highest quality.

“A lot of factors are considered when increasing health insurance premiums, such as doctor fees, the cost of medical equipment, the increased cost of hospital procedures, wages of health professionals and more,” Mr Koch explained.

“Similarly, all health insurers are required to submit details of their proposed premium increases to the Department of Health for assessment. Along with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, the Department of Health considers a range of factors before applications are passed on to the Health Minister for final approval.

“In some instances, the insurers submission isn’t successful, and they need to resubmit their proposed price changes. So, a lot of regulation goes on behind the scenes that everyday Australians may not realise.”

Health insurance industry average rate increase by year
YearAverage Rate rise (%)
2020 (delayed due to the pandemic)2.92%

Source: Department of Health and Aged Care.

However, with lengthy public waitlists for elective surgeries and high costs for many out-of-hospital appointments such as dental and physiotherapy, Mr Koch said it was time for Aussies to consider switching, rather than ditching their health insurance.

“A lot of families are going to see these price hikes and consider ditching their cover, but it’s important to remember the benefits that private health insurance can provide,” Mr Koch said.

“Instead of cancelling your policy altogether, consider removing services that aren’t important to you by switching to a policy that’s more suitable for your needs.

“For example, you may currently be on a Gold hospital policy with all the bells and whistles, but may find that a Silver Plus or Silver policy still provides all the inclusions you need, without paying for ones you don’t.

“Or you may not be utilising all the extras that are available under your policy, so you may consider switching to one that includes less services.

“Some funds are increasing rates much higher than others, so there’s never been a better time to ensure that you’re not paying a cent more for your cover.

“If you find another policy that offers the same level of cover for less, it could be time to switch.”

2024 average rate rise by fund.

ACA Health Benefits Fund Limited3.18%
AIA Health Insurance2.19%
Australian Unity Health Limited1.42%
BUPA HI Pty Ltd3.61%
CBHS Corporate Health Pty Ltd5.82%
CBHS Health Fund Limited4.51%
Defence Health Limited1.00%
Doctors’ Health Fund Pty Ltd2.79%
GMHBA Limited2.91%
HBF Health Limited3.95%
Health Care Insurance Ltd0.27%
Health Insurance Fund of Australia Limited3.87%
Health Partners Limited1.93%
Hospitals Contribution Fund of Australia Ltd2.89%
Hunter Health Insurance*3.32%
Latrobe Health Services Limited3.04%
Medibank Private Limited3.31%
Mildura District Hospital Fund Ltd2.14%
National Health Benefits Australia Pty Ltd3.41%
Navy Health Ltd3.10%
NIB Health Funds Ltd4.10%
Peoplecare Health Limited1.63%
Phoenix Health Fund Limited3.72%
Police Health Limited3.01%
Queensland Country Health Fund Ltd2.53%
Queensland Teachers’ Union Health Fund Limited1.96%
Reserve Bank Health Society Ltd2.97%
St Luke’s Medical and Hospital Benefits Association3.20%
Teachers Federation Health Ltd2.65%
Westfund Limited2.82%
Industry Average3.03%

 Source: Department of Health and Aged Care.

To help Australians look for a better deal on their health insurance, these are Mr Koch’s top tips.

  1. Look for offers and perks. Around the time when health rates rise, we often see a lot of perks, incentives, and promotions offered to sweeten the deal and encourage people to switch. For example, some providers may waive some of their waiting periods, give you free coverage for a limited time or offer other initiatives such as access to wellbeing and rewards programs. These perks can vary between providers, which is why it’s important to compare.
  2. A cheaper policy may not be the best value. Lower premiums can come at the sacrifice of fewer inclusions. Decide what coverage is most important to you and choose a policy that caters to these needs.
  3. Don’t waste your money on what you don’t need. More comprehensive policies will typically include a wider range of inclusions, but keep in mind this comes at the cost of higher premiums. If your health circumstances have changed, you may be able to snag a better deal by switching to a lower level of cover that still includes the things you need.
  4. You don’t need to reserve waiting periods. If you switch policies, your new fund will recognise any waiting periods you’ve already served. However, you’ll still need to wait for any new or upgraded services and benefits.
  5. Cross your ‘t’s and dot your ‘I’s. Always read the terms and conditions carefully if you’re considering switching or taking out a new policy. All the details, including inclusions, exclusions, waiting periods, excess amounts, and more, will be found in your policy brochure.


For more information, please contact:  

Phillip Portman | 0437 384 471 | [email protected]

Compare the Market is a comparison service that takes the hard work out of shopping around. We make it Simples for Australians to quickly and easily compare and buy insurance, energy and travel products from a range of providers. Our easy-to-use comparison tool helps you look for a range of products that may suit your needs and benefit your back pocket.


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avatar of author: Phillip Portman

Written by Phillip Portman

When he’s not busy writing, Phillip can usually be found at the movies, playing with his Italian Greyhound Wilma, hanging out with his cockatiel Tiki, or talking about everything pop culture. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Journalism and has previously written about health, entertainment, and lifestyle for various publications. Phillip loves to help others and hopes that people learn something new from his articles.

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