Medibank wields axe to stem losses

Medibank Private will cut 118 management and technical staff positions and abandon recruitment plans for another 35 jobs.

Australia's largest private health insurer will cut the positions in order to avoid putting up premiums further, on top of the 16 per cent increase at the beginning of this year. Most of the positions to be cut are in the Melbourne corporate office and will be achieved through redundancies. A spokesman said that the retail branch network will not suffer any job losses, so Medibank's three million customers won't be affected.

The Opposition health spokesman Stephen Smith speculated that the job losses were part of a “fattening-up” process prior to the Government potentially selling off the insurer. But Medibank Private has rejected this notion, with its spokesman stating that the insurer is operating in a very competitive industry in difficult circumstances.