Medibank to simplify product range

The new managing director of Medibank Private, Australia's largest health fund, says that health insurance and policies are too complicated for consumers to comprehend. George Savvides says that Medibank intends to introduce a reduced range of simplified easy-to-understand products within 12 months. A large number of Australians don't understand their health insurance policies, he said, nor the benefits they're entitled to.

Mr Savvides also said that Medibank will cut costs, starting with last month's cuts of 118 staff, but he stated that none of the insurer's 93 outlets will be closed, although some may be moved. He also said that Medibank wants to introduce “step-down” care, which would extend private health cover to patients' post-operative care at home.

The Australian Consumers' Association's Nicola Ballenden responded positively to Medibank's announcement on simplifying polices and products. Consumers are constantly complaining that they don't understand what they have bought, she said, and clearly it hasn't been explained properly in the first place. The other issue is that people buy policies and then never review them. They should be looking at their health insurance cover every two years or so, she said.