Annual report reveals dramatic growth in COVID claims

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The annual high claims report produced by Private Healthcare Australia reveals almost 400,000 hospital claims exceeding $10,000 in 2021.

The number of claims with benefits exceeding $10,000 rose 6.7 per cent and accounted for $7.8 billion in in-hospital benefits paid.

Chief executive Dr Rachel David said the report demonstrated the value of private health insurance to both young and older Australians, particularly in the current pandemic environment.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and long-term lockdowns have hit younger people extremely hard, as seen by the increase in mental health claims among this cohort. Similarly, claims for COVID-19 treatment continue to rise and while the average age is 65, more than 10% of COVID-related hospitalisations were for members under 30,” she said.

Claims exceeding $10,000 for mental health treatment among Australians under 30 have increased dramatically since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic - rising by 13.7 per cent.

Three-quarters (74 per cent) of claimants for mental health treatment aged under 30 are females.

Claims for COVID-19 treatment during 2021 have also increased significantly and continue to do so.

The annual report shows that since the start of the pandemic, there have been 4,751 COVID-19 confirmed hospitalisations funded by private health insurance - 220 in 2020, 825 in 2021 and 3,706 in 2022 to date.

The average member age with confirmed COVID-19 hospitalisation funded by private health insurance is 65.

The highest benefit paid for COVID-19 confirmed hospitalisation in 2021 was $159,198. The average length of stay in hospital for the management of private patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection is 10 days.