Medibank loses few customers from virus
Medibank Private says slightly more than 1.0 per cent of customers have suspended policies as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and it expects them to return.
The health insurer provided the figure in a trading update on Wednesday amid a slumping economy and widespread job losses from the restrictions on movement aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Medibank said it believed customers suspending policies would do so on a temporary basis and most would return.
Many people have deserted private health insurance providers in recent years due to what they say are excessive costs.
Only 44.1 per cent of Australians have hospital cover, the lowest level since 2007, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority says.
Medibank stores have been closed since April 1, which has affected efforts to gain customers.
Management has not indicated when stores may reopen.
Medibank has provided more than $50 million to support customers during the crisis.
This include paying benefits for COVID-19 treatment regardless of the level of cover.
The insurer has also postponed its premium increase, as have its rivals.
The company said its full-year dividend would, as usual, be decided in August.
The dividend payout ratio is expected to be at or above the top end of a revised target range of 75 per cent to 85 per cent.
Medibank shares were 9.0 cents, or 3.38 per cent, higher at $2.75 at 1127 AEST.
They have lost 15.35 per cent in value since January 1 amid a wider market downturn.
Medibank in February reported first-half profit slipped 14.3 per cent to $177.9 million.
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