31 May 2012

Price agreements sought by Southern Cross

8:53 pm on 31 May 2012

Southern Cross hopes to enter price agreements with at least half of its healthcare providers in order to manage rising costs.

The not-for-profit health insurer wants to get at least half of its doctors, surgeons and medical providers to agree to set prices as a way of keeping its premiums down.

The health insurance industry has lost customers during the downturn, while costs have risen.

The society is the first, apart from ACC, to set such up such agreements, which now account for a quarter of all its claim costs.

The rising costs of premiums industry wide means fewer people are taking out health insurance.

Chief executive Peter Tynan says the agreements hope to reverse that trend.

Mr Tynan says Southern Cross's claims costs rose by more than 50% in the last six years to $577 million last year.