The report is based on interviews with almost 25,000 policy-holders, and tracks rolling monthly averages up to December 2020. It shows that satisfaction across the funds as a whole was up by 0.5% from the previous month, November 2020, and up by 1.8% on a year earlier, December 2019. Many health funds offered assistance including payment pauses or reduced premiums during 2020 to members under financial stress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However a number of funds also increased their premiums.
The best-performing private health insurers had customer satisfaction levels well above the overall industry average. In top position was Health Partners on 91.6%. It was followed by Defence Health (on 88.6%), CUA Health (87.0%), Latrobe Health Services (86.9%) and Westfund (86.5%). Of these five, CUA Health is the only for-profit fund (its parent company, CUA bank, is a mutual organisation).
Australia’s largest fund by market share, Medibank Private, had a satisfaction rating of 69.8%, one of the lowest of the more than two dozen funds measured. BUPA, which is a close second in terms of market share, had a slightly higher score of 71.5%. Each of those funds has more than twice as many members as the next largest fund, HCF, which had a customer satisfaction rating of 75%.
With many health insurance members facing another premium rise in April 2021, Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says customer satisfaction is a crucial measure for health funds because of its close link to member retention, as the percentage of Australians with private health cover continues to shrink.