Why private health insurance is the one bill we don’t complain about

Despite another price rise looming, Aussies are reporting that they’re happier than ever with what they are getting for their money.

Ask anyone if they think they’re paying too much for their household bills and you’ll usually get a yes. However, according to a new survey, one relatively expensive one rates surprisingly high for value for money.

New data from Roy Morgan shows satisfaction with private health insurance is up both month-on-month and year-on-year. Overall, a total of 73.7 per cent of Australians holding private health insurance were either ‘very satisfied’ or ‘fairly satisfied’ with their private health insurance provider.

The report, titled Customer Satisfaction: Private Health Insurance, comes just weeks before yet another price rise is set to hit private health cover.

The price hike, which kicks in on April 1, will set the average family back by an extra $127 a year and an average individual by $59 in what will be the second increase in just six months for many policy holders.

Despite these rising costs, the Roy Morgan report shows that satisfaction across health funds as a whole was up by 1.8 per cent from last year.

The best-performing private health insurers had customer satisfaction levels well above the overall industry average. In top position was Health Partners on 91.6 per cent. It was followed by Defence Health (on 88.6 per cent), CUA Health (87.0 per cent), Latrobe Health Services (86.9 per cent) and Westfund (86.5 per cent). Of these five, CUA Health is the only for-profit fund (its parent company, CUA bank, is a mutual organisation).

Australia’s largest fund by market share, Medibank Private, had a satisfaction rating of 69.8 per cent, one of the lowest of the more than two dozen funds measured. BUPA, which is a close second in terms of market share, had a slightly higher score of 71.5 per cent. Each of those funds has more than twice as many members as the next largest fund, HCF, which had a customer satisfaction rating of 75 per cent.

With the premium rise looming for many health insurance members, Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says customer satisfaction is a crucial measure for health funds because of its close link to member retention.

“Looking at the latest retention rate data from the Commonwealth Ombudsman, the link between customer satisfaction and customer retention is crystal clear,” she says.

“Health Partners, the top performer in our report, has a satisfaction rating of 91.6 per cent. Its member retention rate is 90 per cent. This compares to Medibank Private, with a satisfaction rating of 69.8 per cent and a retention rate of 75 per cent.

“The days when a dissatisfied customer would stay with a health fund because it was too much trouble to change are long gone. Unhappy customers vote with their feet and their hard-earned dollars. It’s true you can’t please all the people all the time and this is an issue the largest funds grapple with, as their ratings demonstrate.”


This story was published by news.com.au on 30 March. you can read it here.