The private health insurance industry has been on a well documented downwards trajectory over the years thanks to a heady combination of an ageing population, increased use of healthcare services, and rising premiums that make insurance unaffordable and unappealing - especially to young people.

Now, The Grattan Institute has released a new report titled 'Stopping the death spiral: creating a future for private health', a follow up to one of its previous reports where it claimed health insurance was in a death spiral, particularly among young people. 

"For the past 20 years, private health insurance premiums have been rising faster than wages and inflation. Australians are paying more but getting less," the Grattan report said.

"The COVID crisis hasn’t saved private health. The industry was in a death spiral before the pandemic and it’s still in a death spiral today."


Need somewhere to store cash and earn interest? The table below features savings accounts with some of the highest interest rates on the market.

Provider

4000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
  • Bonus rate for the first 4 months from account opening
  • No account keeping fees
  • No minimum balance

High Interest Savings Account (< $250k)

  • Bonus rate for the first 4 months from account opening
  • No account keeping fees
  • No minimum balance
010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
  • Deposit at least $1,000+ each month from an external source
  • Make 5 or more eligible transactions
  • Grow your savings balance each month

Savings Maximiser (<$100k)

  • Deposit at least $1,000+ each month from an external source
  • Make 5 or more eligible transactions
  • Grow your savings balance each month
010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
  • Earn up to 5.40% pa by depositing $1,000 in the previous month
  • No account fees
  • Easy access to your money

Saver Account (<$250k)

  • Earn up to 5.40% pa by depositing $1,000 in the previous month
  • No account fees
  • Easy access to your money
4000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
  • A high-interest online savings account with no monthly fees, easy withdrawals and award-winning digital banking
  • No withdrawal notice periods or interest rate penalties
  • Save up to 10% on eGift cards at over 50 retailers with Macquarie Marketplace

Savings Account (Amounts < $250k)

  • A high-interest online savings account with no monthly fees, easy withdrawals and award-winning digital banking
  • No withdrawal notice periods or interest rate penalties
  • Save up to 10% on eGift cards at over 50 retailers with Macquarie Marketplace
05001$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
  • Maximum Age - 24

Goal Saver

  • Maximum Age - 24
000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
*Rate varies on savings amount
  • Deposit $500 per month to get bonus interest
  • No balance growth needed or card transactions necessary.
  • Tiered bonus rates apply. Earn our best rate on your first $100k. (TMDs at ubank.com.au)
  • 5.50% p.a. available on total savings up to $100K.
  • 5.00% p.a. applies to savings between $100K-250K.
*Rate varies on savings amount

Save Account (>$100,000)

  • Deposit $500 per month to get bonus interest
  • No balance growth needed or card transactions necessary.
  • Tiered bonus rates apply. Earn our best rate on your first $100k. (TMDs at ubank.com.au)
  • 5.50% p.a. available on total savings up to $100K.
  • 5.00% p.a. applies to savings between $100K-250K.
0200$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
  • No fees or penalties for withdrawing money
  • Savings guaranteed up to $250,000
  • Maximise your savings and reach your goals faster with Auto-Savings

Bonus Saver Account (Amounts < $250k)

  • No fees or penalties for withdrawing money
  • Savings guaranteed up to $250,000
  • Maximise your savings and reach your goals faster with Auto-Savings
010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
For customers aged 14-35 years
For customers aged 14-35 years

Future Saver Account ( < $50k)

    010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

    Boost Saver

      Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

      All products with a link to a product provider’s website have a commercial marketing relationship between us and these providers. These products may appear prominently and first within the search tables regardless of their attributes and may include products marked as promoted, featured or sponsored. The link to a product provider’s website will allow you to get more information or apply for the product. By de-selecting “Show online partners only” additional non-commercialised products may be displayed and re-sorted at the top of the table. For more information on how we’ve selected these “Sponsored”, “Featured” and “Promoted” products, the products we compare, how we make money, and other important information about our service, please click here. Rates correct as of July 13, 2024. View disclaimer.


      See also: Has COVID dealt a death blow to private health?

      With more than 40% of the population using private health insurance, the report says government and industry must work together to come up with a plan to salvage it.

      "There is still too much government red tape, mollycoddling, and created dependency, so the sector looks to government to fix its problems," report authors Stephen Duckett and Greg Moran wrote.

      "But government feels paralysed because if it changes the rules there will be losers who will shout loudly.

      "The industry needs to face up to its own problems."

      According to the report, those problems include "greedy" surgeons who charge patients "exorbitant fees", rorts in the prosthesis and device supply chain, unnecessarily long hospital stays, and insurers raising their premiums without giving members value for money.

      The report found 6% of specialists' services in hospitals are billed at more than twice the Medicare fee, accounting for 89% of patients' out-of-pocket costs. 

      See also: How to save money on your health insurance

      "Patients who have been paying insurance all their lives are understandably angry to get these surprise bills," the report said.

      "The industry should rein-in these ‘greedy’ doctors, and the Government should ensure patients know more before surgery about the costs they could face, so they get fewer nasty surprises after surgery."

      Ensuring private hospitals don't keep patients in hospital for longer than necessary could cut private health insurance premiums by 5%, while fixing the "pricing shambles" in the prostheses market could reduce the cost of hip and knee replacements and further reduce premiums.

      It also argued insurers should be forced to justify premium increases.

      "The Minister for Health should be more willing to reject premium-rise applications from insurers that can’t show they offer their customers good value for money."

      Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash