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Media release to go with State of the Sector Survey 2023
More consumers using intermediaries to navigate the health insurance system
The number of consumers using comparison services increased significantly in the last financial year, with more investigating their private health insurance (PHI) options to ease the cost-of-living pressures.
Comparison members of PHIIA, the Private Health Insurance Intermediaries Association, accounted for 23% (186,000) of all market sales in the 2023 FY, including an increase in new member sales to 55,000.
The proportion of members sales of new entrants to the market increased from 28.8% to 31.0%, while sales to switchers fell from 71.2% to 69.0%.
Our annual survey shows cost of living pressures are weighing on consumers who are significantly more likely to make enquiries but less likely to buy policies than in previous years, says PHIIA CEO Christopher Zinn.
The annual survey revealed while 37% of new entrants favour Bronze Plus, there was a downward movement from the Plus categories in all the tiers.
While sales of gold-tier products were the least common overall, over a quarter of these were to people under 29 years (26.9%), up from 25.9% in 2021-22.
With around one in ten people aged under 34 years opting for Gold cover, we continue to see younger people having to take out the highest levels of cover to access just one service, which is psychiatric cover, said PHIIA Chair Gerald Brown.
There was a decline in the purchase of PHI among consumers under 55 years of age, most notably amongst those aged 25 to 29, down 11.8% to 17,159 in 2022-23.
Suggesting older cohorts might be more insulated from the cost of living and housing pressures, sales to those aged 55 or older accounted for 37.0% of all sales, up from 34.9% the previous year.
Reflecting the high ratio of sales to older people policies with lifetime health cover (LHC) loading increased to 29.9%.
The average gross annual premium (GAP) for combined policies sold by PHIIA members increased by 4.1% to $4,141 and is higher than the private health fund average of 2.9%.
Despite the cost-of-living pressures, the figures suggest, PHIIA members are providing a service based on the wider needs of customers, not just on price, says Zinn.
Media inquiries to Christopher Zinn, PHIIA CEO, at
Chriszinn@phiia.org and 0425 296 442
PHIIA is the peak industry body representing and monitoring standards for comparison services, independent intermediaries, agents and brokers advising and selling private health insurance in Australia.