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Medibank regained its position as the leading Australian health insurer in 2022, ending the six-year dominance of Bupa, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
GlobalData’s Insurance Database reveals that in a highly consolidated Australian health insurance market, Medibank’s direct written premiums (DWP) grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.1% during 2018-22, compared to 0.2% CAGR growth of Bupa. In 2022, Medibank’s health insurance DWP grew by 2.8%, whereas Bupa’s DWP declined by 0.7%.
Swarup Kumar Sahoo, Senior Insurance Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Medibank’s performance in health insurance in 2022 was driven by competitive premium pricing and a growth in the number of policyholders due to increased health awareness among young and first-time buyers.”
Medibank hospital plans, which start at AUD101.8 per month, are the lowest among health insurers operating in Australia. Additionally, the company registered the lowest increase in average premiums in the last 21 years as compared to other health insurers, which has kept its premium prices competitive in the market. The trend continued in 2022, as Medibank offered two rounds of premium deferrals, and provided cash backs to policyholders through premium relief, ancillary limit rollovers, and financial hardship support.
In addition to this, Medibank has leveraged the customer base from its other brand Medibank Health, which provides healthcare services, to support its growth. As a result, the number of policyholders of Medibank increased by 4.6% in 2021, followed by a 3.2% increase in 2022.
Sahoo continues: “Through Medibank Health, the company has taken a number of initiatives to provide affordable health services that have supported customer retention and new business growth.”
An example includes the ‘short stay at Hospital’ program under Medibank’s new care model. The program allows eligible patients to spend less time in the hospital and recuperate at home where they are cared for by nurses, allied health practitioners, and personal carers, with no medical out-of-pocket costs. This has provided more convenience to customers and helped reduce average out-of-pocket expenditure by AUD1,200 per customer in 2022.
Sahoo concludes: “Medibank is expected to maintain the leading position in the Australian health insurance market in 2023 driven by its competitive premium pricing, affordable healthcare solutions, and an increase in number of policyholders.”