Media releases

March 2, 2005

Health costs drive Medibank Private premium change

Soaring health costs, higher utilisation of hospital and ancillary services by health fund members, and advancements in medical technology have forced Medibank Private to raise its premiums by an average of 7.94% - which is marginally below the industry average.

The increased Federal Government private health insurance rebate decreases this average to 5.22%.

Premiums have only risen by the minimum necessary to cover members' claims - 1 in 5 Medibank Private members will receive either no change, or a reduction, to their premiums.

The increase is heavily influenced by the year on year increases in the number and cost of members' claims. Last financial year Medibank Private paid approximately 9% more than the previous year in benefit outlays.

AVERAGE WEEKLY INCREASES FOR SINGLE COVER:


NAT.VICQLDSANSW
/ACT
TASWANT
AVERAGE
(inc. 3-tier rebate)
$1.04
$0.88
$1.44
$0.80
$1.03
$1.40
$0.67
$0.92
With 30% Rebate
$1.50
$1.44
$1.95
$1.26
$1.41
$1.86
$1.01
$1.04
With 35% Rebate*
$0.18
$0.06
$0.45
Saving of $0.02
$0.23
$0.44
Saving of $0.16
$0.11
*Any family with a member aged between 65-69 is eligible for the increased rebate of 35%


AVERAGE WEEKLY SAVINGS� FOR MEMBERS AGED 70 OR OVER (-$ = SAVINGS PER WK):

40% Rebate**
-$1.13
-$1.31
-$1.05
-$1.31
-$0.95
-$0.97
-$1.34
-$0.81
*Any family with a member aged 70 or over is eligible for the increased rebate of 40%
NOTE: Double prices for couple and family memberships.

Medibank Private Managing Director, George Savvides, said Medibank Private was not alone in being forced to raise premiums. "Premium increases are an industry-wide issue, and one that Medibank has dedicated significant resources to contain rising costs where possible.

"Medibank Private has reduced its increase in premiums from last year and we aim to repeat this reducing trend in future years.

"No-one enjoys raising their prices, and we only seek to cover our rising costs so we can continue funding our members' health claims."

Mr Savvides said despite being forced to raise premiums, Medibank is continuing to add value by eliminating any hospital excess for children of members on PackagePlus products - potentially saving Australian parents hundreds of dollars yearly.



2002 / 2003FY
2003 / 2004FY
% increase
Cost of a defibrillator:
Approx. $32,000
Approx. $47,000
47%
Qty. that Medibank paid benefits for:
19 units
161 units
747%

The premium changes will take effect on 01 April, 2005, and all members will receive letters notifying them of their rate change from early March. The letters will also outline any product improvements or changes that may apply to their product cover.
Medibank Private supports the Government initiative to introduce an increased private health insurance rebate which helps keep private health insurance affordable for older Australians.

Adding value for Australian familiesMedibank Private has removed hospital excess charges for all children covered by our Medibank Private 'PackagePlus' products.

This is in recognition of the need to keep private health insurance affordable for Australian families, which make up approximately 40% of the Medibank Private membership.

For further information contact Trish Hyde, Public Affairs Manager, on 03 8622 5181.


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