Private health care is set to boom following expectations of the lowest premium rise of about 4 per cent in six years.
The four per cent increase equates to about $1.50 a week extra on a typical annual family rebated premium of $1,750, will begin in April. The private cover will also be expanded to include a wide range of medical services including Chemotherapy and Dialysis delivered at home.
Health Minister Tony Abbott is putting pressure on healthcare funds, which generated nearly $1 billion in profits this year, to keep premiums down in the lead-up to the federal election.
Australian-Industry sources expect increases being sought by individual funds to range between 3.5 per cent and 6 per cent, with the average between 4 and 5 per cent.
It is expected that the membership will also grow as health cover broadens by April including treatments at home, mental health programs, post-operative care and widens payments for "wellness" programs for patients with cardiac and other conditions.