Record health fund profits prompt payout call

Private health funds are under increased pressure to help out consumers and struggling private hospitals after recent figures indicate a record $343 million profit for the industry. The Private Health Insurance Administration Council's annual report showed strong membership growth – boosted by the Federal Government's 30 per cent premium rebate and its Lifetime Health Cover scheme – raking in a $343 million profit for 1999-2000. The Federal Opposition says that despite the record profit, consumers were complaining about funds' reluctance to pay out claims and their failure to keep marketing promises such as waiving waiting periods for new members. Likewise, private hospitals have called on health insurance companies for more funds. However, the Australian Health Insurance Association (AHIA) claims that its $343 million profit is not significant considering operating losses of up to $1 billion for the last decade.

‘Health insurers urged to shell out after profit surge', The Sydney Morning Herald, 07/12/00, p 2.