Australian Families set to be hit by rise in health insurance costs

Families across Australia are set to be faced with an increase to their health insurance costs as private healthcare providers look to take advantage of a struggling public hospital system, it has been reported.

Coming as the Australian government works to reduce spending in the public sector, the head of the Australian Health Insurance Association (AHIA), Dr Michael Armitage has told the Sydney Morning Herald that the private sector is becoming increasingly important.

Indeed, it is estimated that private doctors now carry out more than half of all operations across the country.

Notably, the expert also told the newspaper that the government's plans to push up health insurance costs could see the typical family paying around $2.50 a week more for their cover, with those households with incomes of under $50,000 likely to be the hardest-hit by such a development and therefore more likely to benefit from comparing health insurance just as they compare car insurance.

However, the newspaper has noted, the government has rejected such an argument, maintaining that the less well-off would be protected from a marked spike in insurance costs by its planned Medicare levy surcharge.

At the end of last month, prime minister Julia Gillard suggested this levy could be put up in order to deal with the costs imposed by the recent Queensland floods.

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