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Abbott challenges govt on health insurance

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SYDNEY, Nov 19 AAP

November 19 2012, 10:54AM

Proposals to hike health insurance premiums can be blamed to some extent on the federal policy environment, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says.

Mr Abbott was responding to a question about whether the government should block moves by health funds to raise premiums by a projected five per cent next year.

"In the end, it is the policy environment which is ultimately responsible for premiums," he told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

"This is a government which just doesn't like private health insurance."

Mr Abbott pointed to Labor's means testing of the private health insurance rebate.

Industry sources have told News Limited the government will be asked to approve premium increases of at least five per cent from April, 2013.

Health funds are due to submit details of proposed premium increases to Health Minister Tanya Plibersek by Tuesday.

The proposals will then be examined by her department and the Private Health Insurance Administration Council, pending any formal approval.