Health Minister Peter Dutton has approved rises in premiums for private health by more than this year's rise. Photo: Sean Davey
Private health insurance premiums are set to rise in 2014, and by more than they did this year.
Health Minister Peter Dutton signed off on the increases, to take effect from April 1, 2014, on Monday, with insurance premiums to go up by a weighted average of 6.2 per cent.
This implies an average increase of $3.86 a week, based on a basic combined family policy.
Mr Dutton said the early decision would give the 34 insurers who applied for rises certainty going into the new year.
In 2013, the average premium rise was 5.6 per cent, or about $3.70 a week for families.
Mr Dutton said the 2014 price increase could have been lower and blamed the former Labor federal government for putting pressure on the sector.
In the past year, the number of claims was more than expected, meaning the overall cost of benefits paid out jumped by 8 per cent on the previous 12 months.
Approving the new premium increases would help insurers absorb those increased costs, Mr Dutton said.
The price rises approved for 2014 range from 3.14 per cent for Health Partners policies to 7.99 per cent for NIB policies.
Opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King hit out at the government over the increased premiums.
"Dutton's Christmas present for Australian families - highest increase to private heatlh premiums in years. Announced two days before Christmas,'' Ms King tweeted.