Health insurance rates set to soar, Roxon confirms

Consumers in all parts of Australia could be forced to dip into their savings accounts when health insurance rates go up at the start of April.

While most observers have been anticipating an increase in premium costs, most are nevertheless likely to be surprised by the true extent of the hike.

Indeed, the health minister Nicola Roxon has given the green light for insurance providers to put up the cost of their premiums by 5.57 per cent on the first day of April, with this increase almost twice the current rate of inflation and likely to hit many household budgets hard.

On a more positive note, this latest price increase will still be lower than the 5.78 per cent increase passed last year, though, with petrol and food prices also expected to soar over the coming weeks, many Aussies may be forced to make use of their savings accounts in order to benefit from the reassurance of having health cover.

Meanwhile, Ms Roxon has also announced plans to offer subsidies for nicotine patches, potentially offering smokers who want to quit a financial incentive to do so.

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