Young Australians to save up to 10% on health insurance

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Young Australians to save up to 10% on health insurance

Mr Van Der Wielen also supported the discounts for young people to encourage them to take out private hospital cover, saying the community rating model that underpinned Australia's health insurance depended on attracting young members.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has been negotiating with the sector on the changes after approving premium rises averaging 4.84 per cent earlier in 2017.

Insurers will be able to discount hospital insurance premiums for 18- to 29-year-olds by up to 10 per cent.

Access to mental health services will also be improved and waiting periods scrapped, like other insurances, so people will have the option of increasing their excess to $750 for singles and $1500 for families in return for lower premiums.

"It'll be simpler", he told Seven Network.

"My hope is that we'll have the lowest premium changes in over a decade", he said.

Rebates for feel-good therapies such as yoga, homeopathy and tai chi would be banned under a Federal Government shake-up of the private health insurance industry in a move that has won the backing of WA's biggest health fund.

The government also said it had "struck an agreement" with the manufacturers of pacemakers and prosthetic hips and knees to reduce prices.

"The fact that the Minister for Health has recognised that in order to put downward pressure on premiums, action must be taken to reduce service provider costs in key areas, such as medical specialists, hospital operators and prostheses is welcome", he said.

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Private health insurance premiums have been steadily rising by around 5.6 percent every year from 2010.

"I'm working with the private health insurers ... and they have guaranteed in writing they will pass through all of the cost savings".

The changes will also see health insurance offers categorised into Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic levels in a bid to make it easier for consumers to compare policies.

"That means people will have clear choices and clear explanations in a way that has never been the case", Hunt said.

Modelling commissioned by the Private Health Insurance Ministerial Advisory Committee showed removing "basic" cover would increase premiums by between 15 and 21 per cent and result in more than 100,000 people dropping their cover.

Central to the strategy will be encouraging more young people to take up private health insurance, with discounts of up to 10 per cent for the under-30s and a drive to make a mental health safety net part of standard coverage.

"We are pleased that the minister for health has listened to the concerns of the private health insurance industry and acted to place the interests of consumers before the profits of large global medical device manufacturers", he said.

Labor, however, welcomes the cut to the cost of devices on the prostheses list.

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