Thousands drop health cover

About 19,000 Australians dropped out of private health insurance in the March quarter, according to the Private Health Insurance Administration Council. The proportion of the population privately covered slipped to 43.2 per cent, or 8.661 million people, down from 43.4 per cent. Australian Health Insurance Association CEO Russell Schneider said the figures vindicate the Federal Government's policy to encourage private health insurance. He believes the slight drop in membership was due mainly to school leavers and graduates no longer being covered by family policies.