Leaner times ahead for private insurers despite profit surge

PRIVATE health insurers’ profits leapt in 2015 on the back of higher premium incomes, while hospital coverage and utilisation rates softened.

However, with Health Minister Sussan Ley’s decision on new premium hikes imminent and an estimated 500,000 Australians having scrapped or downgraded their private health policies in the past year, the good times for health funds may be grinding to a halt.

A statistical snapshot shows the private insurers lifted their combined premium income by more than $1 billion, or 6.9%, to $21.4 billion in the calendar year,