A shocking new report has revealed that single mother families are being slugged with higher premiums than those of partnered mother families.
It comes at a time when single mothers are already struggling with rising costs of living.
The study, conducted by Choice, has revealed single parents often face increases of up to 70 per cent when they add children as dependants to their policies.
Most two-parent families don’t face any increase in premium at all.
Choice’s health insurance expert who led the analysis, Mark Blades, told the Guardian that in his opinion, it’s inherently unfair. “If an insurer is happy to add a child to a couple’s policy for free, they should do the same for single parents,” he said.
As an example, Choice found NIB funds, which include AAMI, ING, Priceline, Suncorp, Real and Seniors, charged single parents more than couples for gold hospital cover policies.
Other health funds, including Medibank, Bupa, and HCF, don’t charge couples anything extra to insure their children as dependents, and if they do, it’s never above 10 per cent.
It’s a different story for single mothers. The study found that most policies make single parents pay around 33-43 per cent more, compared to a singles policy.
If you think premium increases are just about private health funds trying to make ends meet, think again. The private health insurance industry posted a net profit of $2.2bn last financial year.
Often, single mothers are forced to take out private health insurance for dental coverage alone because there are currently no public system offering dental cover. In some cases that presents the choice of paying the higher premiums or paying rent or buying groceries.
Some of us try to go without but single mothers with particular health conditions or with children who need regular, often expensive healthcare, private health insurance is essential.
Has this happened to you and if so, have you challenged it?
Have you experienced other forms of discrimination?