Staying healthy is costing us more: report

WE'RE getting older, sicker and costing health providers more than ever, says a new report.

The country's biggest health fund, Medibank Group, on Wednesday revealed it paid 1.2 million hospital claims for $3.5 billion in 2014-15.

Medibank reported a $100 million profit upgrade in January and says its hospital claim payouts climbed 4.3% on the previous 12 months.

The business, which has 3.9 million members across its Medibank Private and AHM brands, said hospital admissions had climbed 3.7% a year for five years.

It said this was the result of the nation's aging population, "increased prevalence of illness" and advances in medical technologies.

Childbirth was the most common Medibank-funded overnight hospital procedure in 2014-15 as it paid $150 million for about 20,500 birth admissions.

They were followed by rehabilitation with 17,355 admissions; knee replacements with 8043; shoulder procedures on 6486; and hip replacements with 5770 admissions.

Colonoscopy, chemotherapy, dialysis, rehabilitation and cataract surgery were the five most common day admission procedures.

Medibank managing director George Savvides said the private health insurance sector was under pressure as the costs of private health care climbs.

"Add to this the rising costs of services, and that patients receive more treatments per admission, and there is increasing pressure across the entire sector," he said.

The Federal Government is conducting a review into private health insurance and Health Minister Sussan Ley is pushing funds to cut premiums, which must be submitted to the regulator for approval. -APN NEWSDESK



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