The Federal Court has dismissed action from the ACCC against Medibank Private.
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 in-hospital diagnostic service providers in 2014.
The ACCC had alleged the company had failed to notify its members of its decision to limit benefits for in-hospital pathology and radiology services despite representing it would.
However, according to Justice O’Callaghan in relation to evidence provided by Dr Andrew Wilson, currently group executive, Health Care and Strategy at Medibank, "Ultimately, that evidence, which I unhesitatingly accept, demonstrates that the decision not to communicate with members (about which the applicant complains) was a decision made in the context of the exercise by the relevant committee of its business judgment. Some may agree with it, some may disagree with it, but, in my view, there was nothing remotely unconscionable about it."
CEO Craig Drummond said the company welcomed today’s decision.
“We are pleased that the court has dismissed the ACCC’s case, as we firmly believe that our actions were not unlawful. Today’s decision means we can continue to focus on all of our customers and understand how we can better meet their health and wellbeing needs,” he said.
“Since I joined Medibank just over one year ago, we have made significant changes to our business to improve both the service for all of our customers and provide them with greater value.
“We are making good progress but there is always more to be done. “We must continue to meet the needs and expectations of our customers and hold ourselves to a very high standard. I am committed to leading that change,” added Mr Drummond.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said the organisation was "carefully considering the judgment."