Media releases

December 28, 2007

Lifesaving medical treatments come at a cost

A single medical claim has broken through the $300,000 barrier for the first time, according to Medibank Private's annual 'Chart Toppers' listing of the top ten benefit claims paid by the fund.

The total value of the ten Chart Toppers claims also hit a new record level for the year to June 30 2007, climbing to $2.3 million, an increase of 8.3% over last year.

The top claim for the period was $304,119 on behalf of a 59 year old from New South Wales for the repair of a complex brain aneurysm. Second was a 46 year old Victorian who required removal of a tumour from their adrenal gland. That operation cost $283,211.

Complex cardiac procedures featured heavily, with five of the ten claims for heart related procedures.
The increasing cost of the Chart Toppers claims shows how healthcare costs are on the rise.

'It is an unavoidable fact that healthcare is expensive, and Medibank Private's Chart Toppers list shows just how expensive it can be,' said Industry Affairs Manager Craig Bosworth.

'While Medibank Private covers our members for tens of thousands of more routine procedures each year, this list shows the extremes in terms of both care and cost that our medical system delivers.

'It also illustrates the limits of self insurance - only health insurance can cover you for the cost of receiving this sort of care in the comfort and convenience of a private hospital.

'The odds are at some point in our lives we will need to go to hospital. The other certainty is that healthcare costs will continue to rise, and as the Chart Toppers list shows, can hit incredibly high levels,' Mr Bosworth warned.

In 2006-07 Medibank Private paid a record $2.6 billion in hospital and ancillary benefits for its members, an 8% increase over the previous year. This funded over 750,000 hospital admissions across the country.

Driving the growth in benefits are rising hospital and prostheses costs and increasing utilisation of services.

ENDS
For further information please contact:
James Connors
Tel: 03 8622 5163 | Mob: 0433 992 677 | email: james_connors@medibank.com.au


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