Yesterday the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) released its private health insurance publication for the June 2019 quarter which shows that private health insurance participation has dropped by 0.3 percent, with only 44.2 percent of the population holding insurance (about 11 million Australians). In contrast, Queensland Country Health Fund grew its membership by .58 percent in the same quarter, which equates to 159 new policies.
Our continued growth in such a competitive market proves that if a health fund offers affordable, quality health insurance, people will see the value in taking out a policy that meets their needs. As a Member-focussed health fund, our priority is on delivering value rather than profits. Value add-ons like a Queensland Country Dental and Queensland Country Care Navigation are valued by our Members and help us continue to grow.
We live where our Members live, so we understand the health care needs of Queenslanders in rural and regional areas. We chose to introduce the Accommodation Benefit following the federal government reforms because we knew this would benefit our Members who need to travel for hospital treatment and are not able to access our accommodation units in Brisbane and Townsville.
Queensland Country also opted to introduce the Age-based discount to following the reforms. The APRA data shows a national decline in young people aged between 20 and 24, yet we’ve seen an increase in youth policy holders since the introduction of the Age-based discount in that same period. These are people who have just come out of home and are adjusting to life as an adult with lots of bills to pay, it was our aim to make health insurance affordable for them.
This latest data from APRA will no doubt fuel the national debate over the value of private health insurance. I believe there is a growing demand from Australians wanting coverage to ensure they and their family are protected, but it is up to health insurers to listen to the needs of their members and deliver accordingly.
I congratulate all Queensland Country staff who have contributed to our growth in the last quarter, and thank our Members for trusting us with their private health insurance needs.
To view the APRA publication for the June 2019 quarter click here.