Australian Unity reports annual result

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Australian Unity has reported a profit after tax of $51.5 million for the 12 months to 30 June 2018 with a result heavily impacted by the sale of its corporate health insurance business to nib and a business transformation program.

The company, which covers around 2.5 per cent of all Australians with private health insurance, said the sale of its corporate health insurance subsidiary, Grand United Corporate Health, to nib delivered an after-tax gain of $61.6 million.

Excluding this impact, the company's result after income tax from continuing operations was a loss of $15.3 million.

"The loss from continuing operations includes $14.7 million of costs arising from the extensive business transformation program underway, which will ensure the Group efficiently and cost-effectively delivers the services members and customers value and is well positioned to pursue future business opportunities," it said.

It attributed a 3.8 per cent decline in the number of its private health insurance policyholders to declining industry participation and a "considered strategy" to review and curtail uncommercial means of distribution.

It reported the lowest average premium increase to members in 11 years, below the weighted industry average, and said it achieved significant results through a call centre optimisation program.

"Private health insurance industry reforms remained a key focus for the business. An outcome from prostheses pricing reforms, announced in May 2017, was a reduction in growth of hospital claims," it said.

It said affordability and an aging population remain factors for the sector and that it will "continue engagement with sector participants and government to urge positive reforms to improve the quality, effectiveness and cost efficiency of the health care sector."