News eDaily07 Aug 2017

Australia:Small private health funds rate higher with customers

| 07 Aug 2017

The top three private health insurers in terms of customer satisfaction over the year to June 2017 were all small niche players, well ahead of the main funds and increasing their lead, according to research by consumer, industry and market research company Roy Morgan.

Roy Morgan’s Single Source survey of over 50,000 consumers found that the top three performers (among the 15 largest funds) for private health insurance satisfaction over the last year were Teachers Federation Health (85.1%), Health Partners (84.6%) and CBHS (84.1%). These three funds also all went against the overall negative satisfaction trend over the last year, reporting an increase in satisfaction.

Satisfaction with the two largest funds was 70.7% at BUPA and Medibank Private 68.4%. The percentages were lower than in the previous year.

The study also found that less than half of the members of the major health funds would be ‘highly likely’(with a score of 8 to 10 on a 10-point scale) to recommend their fund to friends or colleagues. Only 43.6% of BUPA members consider that they would be ‘highly likely’ to recommend them, while the other two largest funds also had low ratings, with MediBank Private on 37.6% and HCF 45.3%.

The best overall performer for advocacy was Teachers Federation Health, with nearly three quarters (73.3%) of members being ‘highly likely’ to recommend the insurer, followed by Defence Health (71.2%).

Mr Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research said: “With a great deal of negative publicity being given to the rapidly rising cost of private health insurance over recent times, it is not surprising that satisfaction levels have been declining for most funds. It is worth noting that a number of smaller funds have shown that it is possible to improve even in this environment.

“Our research shows that by far the major reason that fund members either drop out altogether or change funds, is to do with cost. As a result of these cost pressures, the proportion of the population with private health insurance over the last year has declined from 46.5% to 45.4%. Indications from our survey are that this decline in the take-up of private health insurance is likely to decline further over the next year, as shown by the fact that there is an increase in the proportion of fund members saying they will be likely to drop their insurance.

“In this difficult and highly competitive market, where factors impacting on the cost of private health insurance are largely outside the control of the funds, it remains critical that the larger funds learn from the smaller funds who not only show that they have the highest satisfaction levels but are improving their satisfaction levels.”

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