Medibank premium rise below industry average
Medibank Private has announced that premiums on many of its private health insurance policies will rise in 2011 but the fund has managed to keep the average increase below that of the broader industry. This is the fourth consecutive year in which Medibank has delivered below industry average premium increases.
Medibank's policies will increase by an average of 5.35% - around $1.38 per week for a single membership - which is considerably lower than many of its competitors, and lower than the fund's rises in recent years.
CEO of Medibank Private's Health Insurance Division, Bruce Levy, said that while the fund's health costs were growing rapidly and utilisation continued to climb, Medibank Private had used its strengths as one of the largest funds to manage cost pressures being experienced across the entire health sector.
"We have worked hard to keep premium increases low and we are pleased that our efforts to shield members from the full impact of rising costs have been successful. Through smart purchasing of health services and responsible business management, we have managed to keep the increase below the industry average for the fourth year in a row.
"Last year we paid out over $62 million per week on behalf of our members - a jump of eight percent on the previous year. We see that our members value their private health insurance but we also understand that they need to be able to manage the cost, so we're doing what we can to ensure we keep health insurance affordable and minimise price increases," Mr Levy said.
Mr Levy acknowledged the pressures on household finances but stressed the value of greater choice and access to health services that private health insurance can provide.
"We don't like price rises and neither do our members. We understand the pressure that rising costs across all sectors put on family budgets and that's why we are continually looking at ways to reduce costs but to offer our members better service and value," he said.
"We have introduced a new range of health insurance products that have changed the way our health policies are structured to assist our members to understand their health insurance - what they are covered for, how much they get back and how they can claim and interact with Medibank in a quick and effective way. By making it simpler, our members will be able to get more out of their policies."
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