The government in Australia has given private health insurers the go-ahead to raise their premiums by 3.25% next year.

The rise, scheduled to be effective on 1 April 2019, is said to be the lowest since 2001.

According to the government, the rate is lower than the “4.1 per cent inflation for medical and hospital services this year”.

For a single person, the change will result in an additional payment of $1.14 on a weekly basis. For a family, it will lead to an additional payment of $2.35 per week.

Health minister Greg Hunt said: “For a consumer on a $1,500 policy the savings will be up to $150 a year and for a young family on a $3,000 policy the savings will be up to $300 a year.”

Under the new rules by the government, private health insurers can also offer consumers aged between 18 and 29 years discounts of up to 10%.

At the same time, product tiers in New Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic variants will be launched for hospital insurance products next year.

Hunt said: “Many Australians have taken advantage of a change introduced in April this year providing greater access to mental health services by allowing people to upgrade their hospital cover without serving a waiting period.

“Since 1 April this year Australians have been able to upgrade their existing insurance policies to access psychiatric services without serving a waiting period and have claimed more than $16.8 million in benefits. These results shows that the reform package our Government announced in October 2017 has had a real effect on the affordability of private health insurance.”