Media releases

June 23, 2000

LHC without the queues

LAST minute private health insurance consumers - looking to beat the Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) deadline on 30 June - have the perfect mechanism for avoiding queues.
Australia's largest and only nationally-based private health insurer, Medibank Private, will be inserting 3.7 million special coupon-style membership application forms in metropolitan newspapers nationwide this week-end which will allow last minute deciders to lock themselves into LHC without having to endure the frustration of queues.

The applications will provide new members with 'entry-level' cover and the opportunity of upgrading their cover to something more appropriate within 90 days of purchase. This 'entry' level First Choice Saver Level 3 hospital policy covers members for private hospital accommodation, intensive care, theatre fees and dental cover, with premiums for singles at less than $1/day and families at less than $2/day.

The application-style coupons will be carried in metropolitan papers in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Brisbane, Darwin and Tasmania. According to Medibank Private chief operating officer, Mike Whelan, it has been anticipated that between 50,000-100,000 people will be applying for health cover via this coupon-style membership over the next week. "We recognise that many people simply don't have the time to visit retail centres or endure the frustration of telephone queues.

This mechanism allows new members to lock themselves into base rate premiums while at the same time providing them with the necessary breathing space to work out the most appropriate cover for their life-stage and circumstances." Over the past two weeks 39,000 new Medibank Private members joined up at retail centres, 15,000 over the phone or by mail, 5,000 at kiosks and 1,800 via the Internet. According to Mr Whelan, since June, calls have risen to 13,000 telephone calls per day compared with 1,000 in January.

To help cope with the huge demand for membership, Medibank Private has taken on an additional 250 staff, has extended the hours in many retail centre locations and has established kiosks in shopping centres and other convenient locations.

To join Medibank Private, customers can call toll-free 1800 188 188 or if they wish to join via the Internet, can contact the Medibank website at

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