Health funds win 7.6% rise

The Federal Government has given the go-ahead to private health funds to lift premiums by an average 7.6 per cent. The increases will take effect from April 1 and cost the average household an extra $156 a year, or $3 a week. Consumers will now pay $450 more a year, or 22 per cent, for the same cover they took out three years ago. Australia's largest health fund Medibank Private won approval for an average 8.95 per cent premium hike, HBF 18 per cent, MBF 3.4 per cent, HCF 2.5 per cent and HBA 1 per cent. Due to the rises, the 30 per cent Government rebate will cost taxpayers an additional $180 million a year on top of the $2.5 billion already paid out of the federal budget.