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More health premium rises

Sovereign looks set to become the next insurer to unveil increases in its health insurance premiums.

Wednesday, September 26th 2001, 11:48PM

It will announce details of the rises and changes to its health plan policy at roadshows in the middle of next month, Sovereign marketing manager risk, Michael Hewes says.

Rates for disability income will also rise.

Hewes says the health premium rises were partly due to a sharp increase in the number of people holding health insurance.

"Since last year there’s been more than 48,000 new insured people. Now nearly 35% of Kiwis have health insurance."

However, the additional premiums paid haven’t made up for the rise in treatment costs, he says.

Higher drug prices were another reason for the increase.

Sovereign’s last premium rise was more than two years ago.

"This one isn’t dramatic, it’s in line with the extra costs of new treatments, and drug costs going up," Hewes says.

The roadshows will include presentations by General Cologne Re's Australian general manager Michael Molesworth, on background issues that led to the rises.

Tower Health has already said it will raise health insurance premiums by up to 20% in October.

Tower’s increase will affect about 60,000 people, or half its health insurance clients.

Tower blamed the rises on higher claims, which it said had leapt 25% in the last year.

Southern Cross and Aetna have also raised their health insurance premiums.

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