Media releases

October 22, 2008

Medibank Private moves quickly to avoid Medicare Levy Surcharge confusion

Leading private health insurance fund Medibank Private announced today that it is offering to help members caught up in the uncertainty surrounding the revised Medicare Levy Surcharge thresholds.

Medibank Private Chief Operating Officer Bruce Levy said the fund will welcome back members who may have acted too early and closed their cover while the level of the threshold was not settled.

"Originally the threshold was to be revised to $100,000 for singles and $150,000 for families, but after much debate the final outcome is for $70,000 for singles and $140,000 for families.

"In recognition of this change, Medibank Private wishes to reassure former members who may have dropped their private hospital cover due to confusion surrounding the Medicare Levy Surcharge amendment that they will be welcomed back to the fund.

"We are inviting members who may have dropped their private hospital cover between 1 July 2008 and 16 October 2008 to resume their previous level of cover with Medibank Private, without needing to re-serve their waiting periods.

"Former Medibank Private members will not need to pay premiums for the period when they did not have private hospital cover.

"Members will have until the end of this year to take up this excellent offer," he said.

According to Mr Levy, private health insurance remains the only practical way for most Australians to have control of their health care with choice of provider, facility and timing of treatment.

"Medibank Private represents excellent value for private health insurance, has an extensive range of products, and operates retail centres in every State and Territory.

"Medibank Private paid over $2.9 billion in member benefits in 2007-08, an increase of almost 9% from the previous year. Close to a quarter of the total - $680 million - was spent on services for members aged 40 years or younger," Mr Levy said.

The changes to the MLS threshold do not affect the other incentives offered by the Australian Government to support those with private health insurance.

"Medibank Private welcomes the government's support for Australia's mixed public-private healthcare system. Members can rest assured that the government fully supports the role of the private healthcare sector and is committed to the retention of Lifetime Health Cover and the 30%, 35% and 40% private health insurance tax rebates," Mr Levy said.

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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