Media releases

June 6, 2005

Medibank Private tackles premium growth

Responding to questions in Thursday's Senate hearing, Medibank Private Managing Director, George Savvides, said the fund was attacking rising healthcare costs and taking pressure off future premium increases through its negotiations with hospitals.

Mr Savvides said health care costs were rising and Medibank Private could no longer keep asking members to pay higher and higher premiums to cover these costs, often driven by substantial differences in charges between hospitals for the same procedures.

"We object, and so do our members, to a situation where our members have to wear variations of up to 25 per cent in what some hospitals charge for identical procedures," Mr Savvides said.

Mr Savvides stated that Medibank Private is negotiating with hospitals to get a better, fairer deal for the same level of care for our members.

All acute medical, surgical and obstetrics overnight private hospitals in metropolitan Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and the Gold Coast were invited in February to provide a proposal to Medibank Private setting out a schedule including pricing, services provided and quality and safety, with the last two having direct reference to standards established by the Australian Council for Safety and Quality in Healthcare and Australian Council on Healthcare Standards.

"Our drive is to get better value and a fair go for our members. We do that by tackling the biggest cost in our business, the prices that private hospitals charge us."

Mr Savvides reinforced that this is not about getting the lowest price but about getting the best price that represents the best value and same quality care for our members.

"A fairer system means our members get the same care, at a fairer price, and pressure is taken off future premium rises," Mr Savvides said.

Medibank Private intends to maintain contracts with more private hospitals and day surgeries than any other major health fund.

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