No step back from Medibank Private

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No step back from Medibank Private in its battle with the ACCC.

The insurer says it will defend the regulator's decision to appeal the federal court's dismissal of its claim the company failed to notify its members of its decision to limit benefits for in-hospital pathology and radiology services despite representing it would.

Justice O'Callaghan found the company had not engaged in misleading and deceptive or unconscionable conduct, as claimed by the ACCC, with respect to the communication of changes made to arrangements with some service providers in 2014.

“It is important that the ACCC seeks clarity from the Full Federal Court on this case. In particular, the extent to which it was acceptable for Medibank not to fully inform vulnerable consumers about changes to their private health insurance,” said ACCC chairman, Rod Sims.

Justice O'Callaghan completely rejected the assertion Medibank engaged in a level of 'misleading or deceptive conduct' in relation to so-called 'vulnerable customers'. On the contrary, according to the judgement, "because Medibank did not engage in misleading or deceptive conduct, it cannot have been unconscionable."

According to Medibank CEO, Craig Drummond, “In August this year Justice O’Callaghan handed down judgment where he comprehensively dismissed the ACCC’s allegations, stating that the ACCC had failed to discharge its burden of proof in relation to a number of elements of its case, and that there was nothing remotely unconscionable about Medibank’s actions.

“Medibank defended the case because we firmly believed that we had not acted unconscionably nor did we mislead or deceive our customers. We are disappointed that the ACCC has decided to appeal the decision, after none of the ACCC’s allegations were substantiated and the matter was dismissed with costs.

“We have been focused, and will remain focused, on how we deliver for our customers and we will not allow the ACCC’s decision to distract us from this,” he said.