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Australians are going to hospital more than ever before

News — Posted 18/02/16

New analysis of Medibank data shows the increasing costs of hospital admissions, and the most common procedures Australians are receiving.

An ageing population, increasing prevalence of illness, and advancements in medical technologies contributed to Medibank paying a record amount in claimable benefits last year. 

In 2014-15, Medibank Private Limited paid a total of $5.1 billion in hospital and extras benefits on behalf of Medibank and ahm members – 4.3% more than the previous financial year. 

New analysis of Medibank data shows that Australians are being admitted to hospital and receiving more hospital treatments than ever before.

According to the data, in 2014-15:

• There were more than 1.2 million claims by Medibank members for hospital admissions and procedures.

• Medibank paid more than $3.47 billion in benefits for these claims – an increase of 3.4% on the previous financial year.


“We want our members to receive the best healthcare so they have the best outcomes possible.”


Improving affordability, value and transparency

Medibank Managing Director, George Savvides says Medibank is working hard to improve affordability, value and transparency of its products and of private healthcare more broadly.

“We want our members to live healthy and active lives so they don’t have to go to hospital, and, if they are admitted to hospital, we want them to receive the best healthcare so they have the best health outcomes possible.”

The challenge of the rising costs of healthcare 

“Overall, we know the costs of private healthcare are increasing,” says George. 

“We know Australians are going to hospital more often – the number of hospital admissions per member has grown on average 3.7% every year for the last five years.” 

“Add to this the rising costs of services, and that patients receive more treatments per admission, and there is increasing pressure across the entire sector.”

George says Medibank is ensuring its members receive the best value from their cover. 

“We are working closely with the Government, our hospital and provider partners and the industry to try to improve affordability of services and to reduce waste and inefficiency.”

Medibank has welcomed the Federal Government’s focus on reforming Australia’s healthcare system – and in particular its focus on affordability.

 “The Minister has already shown a great willingness to work with the private healthcare industry and it is our hope this positive attitude continues. For our part, we stand ready to assist the Minister with these changes,” says George.

“There is certainly much that can be done to improve the affordability of private healthcare, including the value of private health insurance.”

“Like Minister Ley, we see affordability as being a key priority. Our members share with us every day their concern about the cost of healthcare, so we are pleased it is front-and-centre for the Government as well.”

Prostheses pricing reform welcomed 

In 2014-15, the amount paid by Medibank for prostheses jumped by more than $25 million – to over $480 million – on the previous year.

Medibank has welcomed the recent announcement by the Federal Minister for Health that a Working Group will be established to review and redesign the Australian Government Prostheses List to make it fairer for private healthcare patients.

Prostheses make up 14% of the costs paid by private insurers to hospitals.

“Australians with private health insurance are currently being forced to pay significantly more for hip and knee replacements, for example, because the prices currently set out in the Government’s Prostheses List are highly inflated,” says George. 

"We've been advocating for changes to prostheses pricing for some time, and an industry working group involving all parties is certainly the right process for driving this complex reform.”

Childbirth remains the most common overnight procedure

Last financial year Medibank supported more than 20,500 members as they welcomed new additions to their families. 

Following childbirth, the most common overnight procedures among Medibank members in 2014-15 were rehabilitation, knee replacements, shoulder procedures and hip replacements. The five most common same-day procedures were colonoscopy, chemotherapy, dialysis, rehabilitation and cataract surgery.

Medibank’s annual Health Cost and Utilisation data provides useful insight into the increasing rates and costs of hospital admissions and the most common hospital procedures Australians are receiving.

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