The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has released its quarterly private health insurance (PHI) data for the September 2021 quarter, covering key financial and membership statistics for the industry.
In the year to September 30, 2021, PHI industry profitability improved from the relatively low levels experienced in the preceding year, thanks to solid insurance profits and investment income.
APRA's report found that the PHI industry's premium revenue grew 5.4% over the year due to a combination of membership growth and premium rate increases. Meanwhile, claims growth remained lower than previous years due to COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns and movements in insurers' deferred claims liabilities, but increased relative to the year ended September 2020.
APRA explained that these factors resulted in increased gross margins for the year and net margins returned to pre-COVID-19 levels.
In addition, investment earnings increased materially in the year to September 2021 compared with the previous year, mainly due to strong gains in equity investments.
The report also identified membership changes during the year to September 2021, noting that hospital treatment membership increased by 204,848 persons from the same period last year.
However, the report pointed out that the longer-term ageing trend in hospital membership continued, with membership in the 50+ age group increasing by 115,694 persons compared with membership among the younger population (insured persons aged 20 to 49), which increased by 47,597 persons during the year.
APRA also recently released the latest annual data on private health insurers, covering registered private health insurers' expenses, revenues, and operational information for the financial year 2020-21 (FY2020-21).
It showed that the PHI industry's total revenue hit $26.4 billion, total fund benefits $21.9 billion, total expenses $2.5 billion, and surplus (deficit) after tax of $1.5 billion for FY2020-21.
Among all private health insurers, Medibank Private Limited recorded the highest total revenue, with $6.7 billion. Meanwhile, BUPA Australia Pty Limited took the second place with $6.6 billion total revenue. They were followed by Hospitals Contribution Fund of Australia Limited with $3.3 billion total revenue, NIB Health Funds Limited with $2.3 billion, and HBF Health Limited with $1.7 billion.
Meanwhile, CBHS Corporate Health Pty Ltd had the lowest total revenue, with $4,241,000.