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Tuesday, 17 March 1987
Page: 975

(Question No. 4782)


Mr Porter asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 17 October 1986:

(1) Did he approve a transfer of $22m from the Victorian operations of Medibank Private to be distributed between the other States in 1984; if so, (a) why was this transfer sought and (b) what were the reasons advanced to seek ministerial approval.

(2) Have there been any subsequent transfers; if so, (a) when, (b) to which States were transfers made and (c) what sum was transferred.

(3) Is the Health Insurance Commission contemplating any further transfers of funds from one State to another.


Dr Blewett —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) I did approve a transfer of $22.3 million from Medibank Private, Victoria, to Medibank Private operations in other States. This transfer took effect on 1 February 1986 and was reported at page 52 of the Health Insurance Commission's Eleventh Annual Report.

(a) This transfer was sought at the time of the introduction of Medicare to meet the requirement that private health insurance funds maintain minimum resources equivalent to two months of contribution income. Without the transfer it would have been necessary to approve an exemption (from the minimum reserve condition) under section 73 BAC of the National Health Act. I was concerned that there should be equitable contribution rates in all States and, as the only national fund and a major fund in all States, Medibank Private was in a position to provide leadership in this regard. No existing members of Medibank Private were disadvantaged.

(b) Under the provisions of section 68 (2) (c) (vi) of the National Health Act the Minister's approval is required for transfers between funds. This provision applies equally to all funds.

(2) There have been no subsequent transfers.

(3) No.