Media releases

December 19, 2012

Half-a-million dollar prostate surgery at the top of the tree

Medibank has released its annual Chart Toppers list of the top ten most expensive private health insurance claims, which add to a combined amount of $3.38 million.

Topping the list, Medibank paid benefits of almost $650,000 for a member who had to undergo prostate surgery. Second on the list was a neurosurgery claim for $360,000, which involved surgery on the brain.

Laz Cotsios, Medibank Group Executive, Private Health Insurance says, "People rarely think about the true costs of health and medical treatment, which in many ways is a good thing. It is our job to be there for our members when they need us, and on a daily basis Australians are seeing value in their private health insurance.

"But these claims show just how expensive treatment is, and for the families who have had to make claims in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, it must be a huge relief to know that financial burden will be carried by Medibank rather than themselves."

Claims in the top ten list were for procedures as varied as abdominal surgery, neonatal care and cardiothoracic surgery, which involves surgery to the throat, heart or lungs. Third and fourth on the list were for neonatal (new born babies), with claims of over $300,000 each.

Laz continues, "The oldest patient was a 74 year old with a hip fracture. However, there were many young members on the list including a 22 year old who required neurosurgery.

"We understand that individuals and families are experiencing cost pressures right now but health insurance is a good investment in your family's health. While not everyone is going to have to make a large claim such as those on the Chart Toppers list Medibank is working hard to keep members healthy and offers a range of services, apps and a nurse help line to guide you."

In total, Medibank paid out $2.95 billion on behalf of members who received medical attention, an increase of $235 million on the previous year.

"As the population ages and technology advances, so too the costs of healthcare. Last year, Medibank paid out on average around $83 million per week in benefit outlays - an increase of 8.6% on the previous period. We all know that healthcare is expensive, but this list indicates just how much costs are escalating."

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