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Mixed feelings on ‘big switch’ campaign

Health insurers have expressed mixed feelings about the Big Health Insurance Switch campaign that launched this week.

The promotional drive helps consumers shop around for discounts on private health cover.

NIB CEO Mark Fitzgibbon says his company “does well in this type of environment”.

“Anything that encourages competition in the marketplace is a good thing for consumers and we already live with a lot of switching between health funds,” he told Life+Health

However another industry source says he is concerned the campaign may create “a race to the bottom, with consumers changing providers to save a few dollars, then finding out they’re not covered for something like a hip replacement”.

An Australian Unity spokesman says it is no surprise to see such a campaign following recent legislative changes to the sector.

“We have no doubt the means-testing of the private health insurance rebate will lead to some consumers either abandoning private health insurance altogether or at least downgrading their cover,” he told Life+Health

Other health funds say it is too early to measure what impact the campaign will have, if any.

The Big Health Insurance Switch is a partnership between publisher News Ltd and consumer network One Big Switch.

More than 41,000 people had registered for the campaign by yesterday, according to the campaign website.

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