Media releases

July 10, 2003

Medibank Private 'disappointed' at ACA's 30% Rebate stance

Medibank Private has expressed disappointment at the Australian Consumers' Association's (ACA) stance on the Federal Government's 30% rebate for private health insurance.

Recent media reports have quoted the ACA as stating that the rebate should be scrapped and the funds diverted to the public system.

"I am concerned that the ACA seems to pushing an ideological, rather than economic or consumer view," Medibank Private Managing Director Mr George Savvides said.

"The 30% rebate has seen private health insurance become a mass market product. Nearly nine million Australians benefit from the healthcare choices the 30% rebate provides - I suspect very few of them would be happy to see it removed.

"And for every 30 cents the rebate gives the Australian private health insured consumer in the form of lower premiums, they contribute an extra 70 cents into Australia's health system."

Mr Savvides said that the fund had recently commissioned a Melbourne Business School report, which found that the 30% private health insurance rebate benefited both the public and private consumers of Australia's mixed health system.

"The report found that the rebate could be saving the Australian taxpayer $2 billion a year in health costs, net of the cost providing the rebate.

"As well, the rebate is a valuable incentive for young, healthy people to retain their private health cover and thereby further support the community rating principle which is a unique feature of the Australian health system, "Mr Savvides said.

Mr Savvides made the comments on the eve of the Australian Health Insurance Association's (AHIA) Annual Conference, where he will be chairing the opening session - "Private Health Insurance - The Economic Justification."

Key speakers at the AHIA National Conference will include:

  • Senator the Hon. Kay Patterson, Minister for Health & Ageing;
  • The Hon. Kevin Andrews MP, Minister for Ageing;
  • Sir George Alberti MD, President of the International Diabetes Association & President of the Royal College of Physicians in London;
  • Professor Paul Zimmett AO, Foundation Director of the International Diabetes Institute & Professor of Diabetes at Monash University;
  • Professor Ian Harper from the Melbourne Business School
  • Chairman of NSW Branch of Royal Australian and NZ College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Dr Robert Ford.
  • Former Federal Minister for Health & Aged Care Dr Michael Wooldridge,
The AHIA Annual Conference will be held at the Aitken Hill Conference Centre (Yuroke, Melbourne) from 9-11 July. The session Private Health Insurance - The Economic Justification will begin at 9.15am on Thursday 10 July.

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