Media releases

August 27, 2003

Medibank Private Covers its 2 Millionth Gap

Australia's largest private health fund, Medibank Private, has celebrated the two millionth claim made under its GapCover scheme, which eliminates or reduces members' out-of-pocket expenses for in-hospital medical treatment.

The member making the two millionth GapCover claim is Camille Sheldrick, a young mother who says she would not have been able to afford her recent hip replacement had she not been a member of Medibank Private.

"I've been with Medibank Private since 1990 and they have given me the greatest support and insurance I could hope for, " Mrs Sheldrick said.

"Before I joined Medibank Private I was told that I would have to wait more than six months for a hip replacement. At that stage I was in so much pain I was immobilised and had to have constant care.

"And the greatest benefit for me is that I have not been charged any out-of-pocket expenses. Which is great, considering this kind of emergency treatment is not really anything we have budgeted for with two young kids to think about instead," Mrs Sheldrick said.

Medibank Private's GapCover scheme was introduced in 1999, and was designed to reduce or eliminate the "gap" between the fee that patients are charged by their specialist for in-hospital and day surgery medical procedures and the total benefits they receive from Medicare and their private health fund.

Medibank Private Managing Director George Savvides said that the success of the fund's GapCover scheme underlined the value of private health insurance.

"While it's become fashionable in some circles to rail against private health insurance, I think our two million GapCover claims underlines the value we are generating for members every year," Mr Savvides said.

"Since the scheme began, the percentage of GapCover claims has jumped from about 35% to over 73% of total medical services.

"And the GapCover dollars that Medibank Private pays out annually on behalf of members has grown from around $18 Million in its first year to over $161 Million this year."

Medibank Private's website now lists over 6,500 GapCover providers located across Australia. Of this number, around 90% charge no gap and 10% a known gap.

Dr David Young, of the Melbourne Orthopaedic Group performed Mrs Sheldrick's surgery. He charges all Medibank Private members he treats under the fund's GapCover scheme.

"The ceramic bearings used in Camille's treatment are expensive. Without Medibank Private's health insurance and GapCover, Camille would have incurred significant out-of-pocket expenses, placing her and her family under great financial strain," Dr Young said.

Pictured above are: George Savvides, Managing Director of Medibank Private; Camille Sheldrick, Medibank Private Member; and Ridney Nissen, CEO of the Cedar Court Rehabilitation Centre.

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