Ombudsman says complaints still lower than pre-pandemic levels

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The Commonwealth Ombudsman (Ombudsman) has released its quarterly report on private health insurance.

The ombudsman said that during the final three months of 2022, its office received 897 complaints in relation to private health insurance.

It said this was a 57 per cent increase compared to the corresponding period last year but attributed this to complaints starting to return to normal after the lower numbers seen during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

"To put the 897 complaints received this quarter into context, it is still lower than 1033, which was the average number of complaints received in the 8 quarters before COVID-19 started," it said.

Of the 897 complaints, 140 were about Medibank Private’s data theft incident. Complaints about Peoplecare Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), which is administered by Allianz Care Australia, also contributed to the complaint total. Please see the previous Quarterly Updates for more information about these issues).

The office said it offered voluntary mediation to HCF and Healthscope after they were unable to reach a new agreement about cover for HCF members accessing Healthscope facilities.

"The Office offered voluntary mediation to both parties and they accepted, meeting on 24 January 2023. On 1 February 2023 the mediation concluded with the parties agreeing to enter into an extension of their Hospital Purchaser Provider Agreement (HPAA) for a further term of two years," it said.