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Southern Cross ups premiums

Southern Cross is increasing its base-rate premiums by an average 6.5% for the 2006/2007 financial year, blaming rising healthcare costs and growing demand for treatment from an aging population for the rises.

Thursday, May 4th 2006, 6:40AM

Group chief executive Ian McPherson says that with surgical claims costs up by 11.8% from August 2004 to September 2005, and combined claims costs (surgical and medical) up by 8.5%, the not-for-profit society was forced to raise premiums accordingly.

"We paid out over $223 million on surgical costs alone last year. There are many factors affecting premiums and there is little Southern Cross can do about any of them.

Southern Cross Members will receive an average base premium rate increase of 6.5%. However there will be considerable variation reflecting different claiming patterns of members in different age groups and on different plan types. Other influences include moving to a higher age band and qualifying for discounts such as the Low Claims Reward.

"64% of members will get net increases of 10% or less, while 11% of members will get net increases of 20% or more. The largest increases will be noted by members moving into the 65 year age band and/or losing the 10% Low Claims Reward.

"We believe that even with the increases, health insurance continues to represent value for money," McPherson said.

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