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    The medibank private membership watch memberships reach historic highs

    With less than a week to go before the Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) deadline, customers continue to join Australia's largest and only national health fund - Medibank Private - in record numbers.

    The week 19-24 June saw a staggering 33,886 new members join the fund - a figure which equates to over 69,424 additional people now covered by Medibank Private.

    Last week's result eclipses the previous record set in the week prior, of close on 20,000 new members. Of the 33,886 new joins, there were10,864 from NSW; 8,321 from Vic; 8,073 Queensland; 2,084 SA; 1,871 WA, 1,448 Tas, 846 ACT and 379 NT. Total Medibank Private membership stands at 1,105,571 with some 2,274,390 persons now covered nationwide.

    Last week, the total number of policies (both extras and hospital products) sold by Medibank Private reached 81,527. Medibank Private managing director, Mark Burrowes, says the enormous popularity of Medibank's PackagePlus (hospital-cum-extras) products indicates that private health insurance consumers are being discerning about their purchases, ensuring that what they buy suits their life-stage and circumstances.

    "Our figure shows that 69.2 per cent of new members are choosing packaged products ahead of stand-alone hospital products," he says. Asked to comment on the current speculation that the LHC deadline will be extended beyond 30 June, Mr Burrowes says this would be up to the government entirely.
    "Whether the grace period is extended or not will not affect our ability to service new clients. "To cope with the membership rush we have taken on 300 additional staff, extended the hours of the our retail centres, opened additional kiosks in shopping centres and convenient locations, we've expanded our call centre facility and also have people joining up via the Internet.
    "Last week we also inserted coupon-style application forms in metropolitan newspapers nationwide to assist last-minute deciders to lock themselves into LHC from the comfort of their homes. "We're pulling out all stops to make the purchasing of private health insurance hassle-free,"says Mr Burrowes.