Insurance

APRA Releases Quarterly Private Health Insurance Statistics for December 2021

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has released its quarterly Private Health Insurance (PHI) publications for the December 2021 quarter.

The publications provide aggregated industry summaries of key financial and membership statistics for the private health insurance industry.

In the year to December 31, 2021, the industry reported a profit of $1.8 billion, an improvement from the $558.8 million recorded the previous year. The increase in profitability in the year to December 2021 was driven by the recovery of insurance profits and investment income following weak margins and investment returns at the height of the pandemic in 2020.

Premium income increased 5.8% during the year, driven by a combination of membership growth and premium rate increases. Claims growth fell due to various COVID-19 restrictions imposed across Australia throughout the year, as well as the impact of movements in insurers’ deferred loss liabilities (DCLs)1. As a result of these factors, gross and net margins increased from the prior year to 17.2% and 7.7% respectively.

Investment income increased over the year through December 2021 primarily due to strong returns from equity investments.

Adherence to hospital treatment increased by 228,506 people in the year to December 31, 2021. The longer-term aging trend in hospital adherence continued during the year. year, membership in the 50+ age bracket increasing by 119,425 while membership among the younger population (insured persons aged 20-49) increased by 61,372 over the year. the year.

Key performance indicators for the industry during the year ended:

December 2020

December 2021

Change (annual)

Premium income

$25.0 billion

$26.4 billion

5.8%

Fund services (applications)

$22.1 billion

$21.9 billion

-1.2%

Gross margin

11.3%

17.2%

5.9pp

The net margin

1.9%

7.7%

5.8pp

Net investment income

$270.2 million

$448.6 million

66.1%

Net profit after tax

$558.8 million

$1.8 billion

229.3%

Copies of the December 2021 quarterly publications are available on the APRA website at: Quarterly private health insurance statistics.


1 Claims are claims reported in the financial statements in accordance with applicable accounting standards, including claims incurred but not reported and claims processed but not yet paid which are accounted for on an accrual basis. Other benefits statistics in the Membership and Benefits and Benefits Trends sections of this publication refer to benefits paid and reported in cash. Deferred loss liabilities (DCL) have been increased by insurers to cover the cost of deferred proceedings during the pandemic.

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