Media releases

April 26, 2006

Government announces intention to privatise Medibank Private

Medibank Private has today been advised by The Hon. Senator Minchin that the Australian Government has made the decision to privatise Medibank Private.

Medibank Private, Managing Director, Mr George Savvides, said the decision will end recent speculation and he is confident the business is in good shape for taking on the future.

"Having decided not to sell the health fund three years ago, we believe the decision today to sell Medibank Private is recognition of the organisation's excellent financial performance, increased membership growth, and improved member benefits, delivered for the past three years.

"It is also recognition that our continued strong performance has been achieved in an environment where we have increased member value through initiatives such as becoming the first major health fund to remove excess payments for children, on all hospital products across Australia, and improved hospital contracting.

"We have experienced the strongest growth in membership of any health fund since the introduction of lifetime health cover in 2000 - and it's particularly pleasing to see that close to half of all these new members are in the 25-34 year age bracket.

"The sale process is in the hands of the Government shareholder, with the method of the sale yet to be determined. We know it will take time to determine the optimal course and the Medibank Board and management will endeavour to assist the Government during the process," he said.

Medibank Private Chairman, Peter Kirby, said, "The Medibank Private Board will work with the Government to ensure that Medibank's overall interests including those of its members, staff and other stakeholders are given appropriate consideration in any sale.

Mr Savvides went on to say, "Medibank Private management and Board recognises the loyalty of our nearly three million members. Close to 70 per cent of our fund members have been with us for more than five years, more than a third of our members have been with us for more than 10 years.

"We have worked hard to reward our fund members with value for money health cover and we will continue to do so throughout the sale process and to deliver the best value possible for our policy holders into the future.

"We note the Government's stated objectives to ensure that the sale of Medibank Private delivers industry reform, improves products and services for members and community and has regard to the interests of staff.

"Medibank also welcomes the industry reforms announced by the Government today, which have the potential to provide greater value for members and increase the competitiveness in the sector.

"We will work closely with the Government in the further development of this package," he said.


About Medibank Private:

Medibank Private is the largest and only national private health insurance fund covering nearly three million people. Over the past three years the fund achieved the most dramatic financial turnaround in its 30 year history, while recording increases to customer satisfaction and offering a range of new products. In a commitment to reduce pressure on premium growth, Medibank Private has improved the way it purchases health services on behalf of members and through determined commercial contested negotiations with private hospitals Medibank Private now has contracts incorporating a quality and safety framework to ensure added protection for its members. With over 100 retail centres, plus call centre and internet support, and a Members' Choice network of more than 4,000 health care providers, Medibank Private is the most accessible health fund for consumers of private health insurance.

For further information contact
Libby Woolnough - Medibank Private
PH: 03 8622 5181 / 0411 659 060

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