Young Australians continue to turn away from private health insurance

Two weeks ago, a Grattan working paper called for a rethink of private health insurance policy in Australia. New data released today only reinforces the point.

Our paper reported that the private health insurance industry fears it is in a death spiral, in part because Australians were dropping their cover, especially the young and the healthy, and those who are left are more likely to get sick and go to hospital, driving insurance costs up further.

The private health Insurance regulator, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, today released its annual coverage survey. It showed that about 65,000 fewer Australians had health insurance in December 2018 compared to December 2017. There were around 125,000 fewer people under 65 with insurance. By contrast, there were around 63,000 more over-65s with insurance (see graph).

The future of private health insurance is a debate Australia has to have.