Stats show more Aussies choosing to go private with health

MORE Australians now have private health cover than ever before.

Data released by the Private Health Insurance Administration Council shows that 10.8 million Australians (46.9%) have hospital cover of some degree with 52,863 people signing on since the December quarter.

"These strong trends counter predictions that almost a million people would drop their private health insurance because of an increase in the Medicare levy surcharge in 2008," Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said.

"Instead, there was an increase of almost 1.2 million people with hospital cover since September 2008."

There was no mention of whether the higher penalties were forcing people to sign on for private health or figures on how many people had downgraded existing policies because of affordability.