Media releases

March 14, 2003

Medibank Private holds rate rise to "cost of living" or less for majority of members

Whilst single member contribution increases will range from $0 to $2.35 per week, the majority of Medibank Private members (over 60%) will get a premium increase equal to or less than the CPI cost of living - less than 55 cents a week for single members.

Across all Medibank Private products and states, the approximate weekly price increases for single members (after the Federal Government 30% private health insurance rebate is applied) will range as follows:

$0 - $1.86
$0 -$2.24
$0 - $2.28
$0 - $2.24
$0 - $2.35
$0 - $1.86
$0 - $1.20
(Note: Double prices for Couples and Family Cover)

Of this range, members on Medibank Private's Basic Hospital Cover product will have no increase, while AdvantagePlus cover will receive the highest.

Managing Director George Savvides said that as a not-for-profit health fund, Medibank Private had worked very hard on reducing its costs to minimise this year's member contribution increases.

"We have only raised our premiums in order to meet the increasing benefit outlay costs we are experiencing when paying member claims," Mr Savvides said.

"Our total benefit outlay payments increased by 20 percent last year, due to an increase in both the number of claims made and the cost of those claims.

"For instance, comparing the 2002 financial year against the previous year, we paid out an additional $123 million for acute overnight private hospital episodes, an extra $59 million for private same-day admissions, and an extra $18 million dollars in optical benefits for our members.

"Our members rightly expect that their private health cover will give them access to world-class health care - which it does. As a not-for-profit fund, we need to ensure member contribution income continues to afford the continuation of this standard of care."

Mr Savvides said that he expected that health costs would continue to rise over the coming year.

"Factors such as increasing medical indemnity insurance rate, nursing salaries, pharmaceuticals and prostheses are all contributing to health inflation running substantially higher than the general Consumer Price Index (CPI)," Mr Savvides said.

"Given these pressures, I'm very pleased that we have been able to hold down health fund increases for the majority of our members at or below the cost of living - CPI."

"Medibank Private members continue to reap the maximum value from their policies, as the fund continues to return over 90 percent of members' contributions in the form of benefits paid."

Mr Savvides said that Medibank Private had also improved dental benefits for almost half of those members with extras cover.

"We have re-structured our dental benefit schedules and removed the annual limits on general dental treatments for members on our PremierPlus, AdvantagePlus, Blue Ribbon Extras and Blue Extras Plus products," Mr Savvides said.

"I'm confident that this will be welcome news for members on these products."

Medibank Private will begin mailing letters to all members next week, advising of the price and product changes to their health cover.

StateProduct Title
Old Single Price per week
New Single Price per week (from 31 Mar 2003)
NSWAdvantage Plus

Smart Plus

Blue Ribbon Hospital

WAAdvantage Plus

Blue Ribbon Hospital

Blue Ribbon Hospital Excess 1

TASAdvantage Plus

Blue Ribbon Hospital

First Choice Hospital Excess 1

VICAdvantage Plus

Blue Ribbon Hospital

Smart Choice Hospital

SAAdvantage Plus

Blue Ribbon Hospital

Blue Ribbon Hospital Excess 1

NTAdvantage Plus

Blue Ribbon Hospital

Blue Ribbon Hospital Excess 1

QLDAdvantage Plus

Smart Plus

Blue Ribbon Hospital

(Note: Double prices for Couples and Family Cover)

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