Media releases

August 20, 2003

Diabetes-related insurance benefits on the rise

Insurance benefits paid on behalf of private health insurance holders with type one diabetes have almost doubled over a three year period, according to the nation's largest private health insurer, Medibank Private.

The company has reviewed hospital admissions of its members with type one diabetes from March 2000 to February 2003 and found that benefits paid for type one diabetes-related hospital admissions increased from $1.3 million in 2000 to $2.1 million in 2003 - an increase of 38%.

In the period March 2002 to February 2003 Medibank Private members accounted for 627 type one diabetes-related hospital admissions, with an average benefit payment of $3,349 per admission.

The review only considered hospital admissions that were brought on by a member's diabetic condition.

The Managing Director of Medibank Private, Mr George Savvides, said increasing insurance benefit payments like those made by the company to members affected by diabetes over the past three years underpinned the increasingly high profile role Medibank Private is taking in the search for a cure for diabetes.

"We are constantly looking for ways to reduce the cost of health insurance for our members and clearly finding a cure for diabetes will help reduce or even remove what is a very significant cost to the community," Mr Savvides said.

"Diabetes is said to be one of only a few diseases which researchers are genuinely close to finding a cure for, and we are hopeful our support of organisations like the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation will make a meaningful contribution to the search."

Medibank Private is a major sponsor of this week's "Kids in the House" event at Parliament House in Canberra, which is being held by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) to raise awareness of diabetes among Federal MPs. Medibank Private is contributing more than $330,000 over three years to assist JDRF research efforts.

This is in addition to a $200,000 research grant Medibank Private has provided the International Diabetes Institute, taking the company's commitment to diabetes research funding to well over half a million dollars over the next three years.

Mr Savvides said Medibank Private was committed to continuing to offer members who are affected by diabetes a range of insurance products that help ease the financial burden of living with the condition.

"Living with diabetes can be costly in terms of not only being treated for some of the complications of diabetes, but covering the day-to-day healthcare requirements that diabetics face," Mr Savvides said.

"Private health insurance can help reduce some of these pressures by contributing to or covering many of these day-to-day costs, such as blood glucose monitors and insulin pumps which can be a necessary part of managing diabetes."

Medibank Private provides a range of benefits to members with type one and type two diabetes within most of its PackagePlus and Ancillary product range, including new blood glucose monitors every three years, insulin pumps and required accessories.

In the 12 months from May 2002, Medibank Private paid out over $1 million in benefits for blood glucose monitors and insulin pumps.

Mr Savvides said diabetes is a healthcare issue that cannot be ignored, and that Medibank Private supported the JDRF in its efforts to work with Government, business and the general community to find a cure for diabetes.

"By forming partnerships with organisations like JDRF, Medibank Private is raising awareness of the cost of diabetes and educating its members and the wider community on the importance of finding a cure for diabetes", he said.

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