The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has released the latest quarterly private health insurance (PHI) statistics that provides the industry with aggregate summaries of key financial and membership data.
APRA's latest quarterly statistics for the PHI industry also provides specific sets of statistics in the areas of membership, coverage, benefits paid, medical gap, prostheses, and medical services.
According to the regulator's latest statistics, the PHI industry saw a slight decline in net profits after tax in the year ended March 2021. Net margins also dropped by 1.6 percentage points, mainly due to the deferral of the April 2020 premium increases and other concessions provided to policyholders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PHI industry also reported higher investment earnings in the year ended March 31, 2021, following the COVID-19-induced shock to investment markets in the March quarter last year.
In the same period, total hospital treatment membership increased by 170,219 persons. However, the longer-term aging demographic trend in hospital membership continued, with membership in the 50+ age group increasing by 97,291 persons – contributing to increasing average claims per policy as older age groups generally claim more than the younger age groups.
In the March 2021 quarter, the PHI industry reported higher insurance profits – with fund benefits (claims) falling at a higher rate than premium revenue. The insurance result was primarily offset by lower investment income, resulting in a 1.1% decrease in PHI net profits after tax in the quarter.
The number of hospital episodes declined in the quarter and remained below pre-COVID levels. Meanwhile, the number of ancillary services at the end of March 2021 remained slightly above pre-COVID levels.