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Selling Medibank will change the health insurance industry for the worse



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www.stevefielding.com.au

MEDIA RELEASE SF/99. Friday November 24, 2006

SELLING MEDIBANK WILL CHANGE THE HEALTH INSURANCE INDUSTRY FOR THE WORSE

The Federal Government’s sale of Medibank Private will change the health insurance industry for the worse, with more companies putting profits before members.

News today that NIB Health Funds is considering demutualising and a public float is an ominous sign of things to come once Medibank Private is sold.

The chief executive of NIB admitted the Medibank sale would cause a "tsunami" of change in the industry with “fewer… and larger players."

This spells bad news for Australian families.

They will be the biggest losers as companies put shareholders ahead of members and increase premiums to boost profits.

Private health insurance has become an essential service for Australian families, with take-up rates highest among couples with children. Families want access to quality hospitals at affordable prices and private health cover gives them a sense of security and peace of mind.

With the Senate debating the Medibank Private Sale Bill next week, FAMILY FIRST urges the Government to ditch its sell-off plans. The government has a legitimate role as owner of a not-for-profit Medibank Private to ensure its main focus is the needs of members rather than profits.

The number one priority for a privatised Medibank Private would be making money for shareholders - lots of money. Its drive for profits would lead to increased premiums and reduced services.

For media enquiries phone Chief of Staff Felicity Dargan on 0409 550 446