FOOTING the bill for a growingnumber of public hospital admissions is a key factor in swelling private health insurance premiums, NIB’s Mark Fitzgibbon says.
NIB’srevenue has risen to $1.1 billion in the first six months of this financial year, the company’s half-yearly results have revealed.
The Newcastle-based health insurer announced an underlying operating profit of $96.4 million amid its results on Monday, representing growth of 8.9 per cent compared to the previous June to December period.
Managing director Mark Fitzgibbon said the result was as expected, with its n residents Health Insurance (arhi) arm funding almost 143,000 hospital admissions and three million ancillary services across and New Zealand during that period.
“Importantly, we also funded around 24,000 public hospital admissions at a cost of almost $39 million,” he said.
“The growth in us paying for public hospital admissions is a key factor in cost and premium inflation.
NIB acquires GU Health30 per cent net profit riseLocals share in $300K from NIB“However it’s at least providing greater choice to access for our customers and demonstrating just how reliant the public hospital system has become upon private health insurance.”
NIB’s growth in the past two quarters came from adjacent businesses covering international students and workers, travel insurance and NIB New Zealand.
Overall Mr Fitzgibbon said the firm’s results werestrong in a difficult market, predicting a full-year net margin at the higher end of the company’s goal range of five to six per cent.
He said the firm remained committed to premium affordability for its customers.
“The domestic n health insurance market is as soft as I can recall,” he said.
“Household incomes aren’t growing and there’s sure no shortage of competition in the marketplace.
“There’s just way too much evidence of unnecessary hospitalisation and fee variation,” he said.
“While we don’t want to tell doctors what to do, we do want to help our customers make more informed decisions about treatment options, choice of doctor and cost.”