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New alliance to take on big two in health insurance

01 Feb 2015

Not-for-profit and mutual health funds, making up more than a third of funds in the Australian health insurance market, have joined forces to tackle the ‘big two’ - Medibank Private and BUPA - head-on.

Fifteen not-for-profit and mutual health funds (representing 18 brands) have come together to launch Members Own Health Funds.

Members Own Health Funds Chairman Brad Joyce said the exciting new entity had a clear message that “we simply don’t believe that maximising shareholder returns or profits is an appropriate philosophy to apply to people’s health needs”.

“There is a fundamental philosophical difference between funds like Medibank and BUPA and those funds that make up Members Own Health Funds,” Mr Joyce said.

“Members Own Health Funds is underpinned by the belief that participating funds are there for members and their wellbeing. With Members Own health funds you’re a member not a number or profit centre.”

The creation of Members Own Health Funds follows the sale of Medibank Private last year – removing it from ownership by the Australian public and dramatically changing the landscape for Australian health insurance.

“The private health insurance sector is now dominated by a listed company in Medibank Private and an overseas based multinational in BUPA,” Mr Joyce said.

“If they think the health insurance market is theirs to carve up between them, they can think again. Members Own Health Funds share a strong determination to take the ‘big two’ head-on by providing Australians with a better choice.”

The facts, as independently validated by KPMG*, are:

Over the past five years, on average Members Own health funds have collectively given more back to their members than the comparative group of Medibank Private, BUPA, NIB and AHM collectively.
Over the past five years, on average Members Own health funds have collectively delivered better service than the comparative group collectively. 
Over the past five years, on average Members Own health funds have collectively had higher member satisfaction and loyalty, and dramatically lower relative rates of member complaints to the Ombudsman than the comparative group collectively
*Refer for the detailed report supporting these facts.

“For generations, health insurance in Australia was provided by not-for-profit and mutual funds run for the benefit of their members and its time we re-stake our place in the private health insurance market”.  

“Members Own health funds offer an attractive alternative to the ‘big two’ and are now a strong third pillar in the health insurance sector,” Mr Joyce said.

“We will be giving Australians compelling reasons why they should choose a credible alternative over the large funds,” he said.

Members Own Health Funds is launching a nationwide public awareness campaign to make sure Australians know there is a choice beyond health funds run to benefit shareholders and overseas owners.

“We have a message that we think all Australian health fund members - indeed anyone thinking of investing in their health - will want to hear,” Mr Joyce said.

Members Own Health Funds include:

ACA Health
Australian Unity
Defence Health
Health Partners
Latrobe Health Services
Navy Health
Peoplecare Health Insurance
Phoenix Health Fund
Police Health
rt Health
St Lukes Health
Teachers Health Fund
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO ARRANGE MEDIA INTERVIEWS: Contact Nicole Haack at The Message Bureau on 0411 196 661

Media contactsDownload release (pdf)