Your lifestyle may soon mean you're charged more for health

SMOKERS and other Australians who make "poor lifestyle decisions" could be charged even more for private health insurance, if the Commission of Audit recommendations on the issue are taken up.

The proposal forms part of a raft of health-related proposals to save the Abbott Government money, including a $15 co-payment on all Medicare services.

Under the audit recommendations, more Australians, particularly those earning higher incomes, would be forced to take out private health insurance, while those with poor health would pay more under "risk equalisation".

"For some people, particularly smokers, poor health is a result of lifestyle choices," the report reads.

"Lifestyle-related conditions impose a significant and growing cost on the health system which ... borne mostly by third parties, including health funds, taxpayers and other users, rather than the individuals responsible.

"In other segments of the insurance market, risk factors such as smoking are taken into account when calculating premiums.

"This principle should be applied to health insurance."

The commission also reported more incentives should be provided for Australians who make "lifestyle decisions that reduce their risk of poor health".

Releasing the audit report last week, Treasurer Joe Hockey said the government's first response to it would be in next week's federal budget.


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