Health fund nib teams up with Cigna for $20m bet on big data keeping members out of hospital


“The consequence of that, if we do it nicely, is that they are much less prone to get sick or injured and find yourself in costly hospitals.”

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A well being fund may give a member with a historical past of claims for pores and skin most cancers removals free checkups or melatonin-boosting treatment to stop additional cancers for instance, he mentioned.

The ASX-listed nib and the New York-based insurance coverage big Cigna will every put $10 million into the brand new enterprise, which can be run independently of nib and ultimately attempt to work with different well being funds.

The $US73 million ($107 million) Cigna operates well being and life insurance coverage companies in additional than 30 nations worldwide and has 165 million prospects.

Mr Fitzgibbon mentioned he hoped that ultimately members would conform to share their authorities My Well being File knowledge with the fund and, in 5 years from now, that it will be regular for them to share their genetic profile.

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The “group score” system prevents Australian well being insurers from charging folks completely different premiums primarily based on the age or well being danger.

Nonetheless, Mr Fitzgibbon mentioned nib would face a problem in convincing members at hand over their private well being knowledge over privateness issues.

“There’s no denying that, however the worth we’re going to provide you is so huge that the chance versus reward is value it,” he mentioned.

The federal government’s My Well being File system sparked vital group privateness issues, with tens of millions of individuals opting out of the centralised record system.

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Leanne Wells, CEO of the Client Well being Discussion board of Australia, mentioned any transfer by insurers to develop into extra concerned with preventative well being was factor, nonetheless nib’s plans raised “lots of questions” about members giving knowledgeable consent for the way their knowledge is accessed and used and funds having info that may very well be used to discriminate towards sufferers primarily based on their well being danger.

“We might be very, very involved if this was the skinny finish of the wedge and any transfer away from group score,” she mentioned.

Mr Fitzgibbon mentioned there have been greater than 740,000 avoidable hospital admissions in Australia yearly, or about 7 per cent of all visits, and that he believed the brand new enterprise might assist scale back that.

That might additionally take monetary strain off heath insurers and result in decrease premiums, he mentioned.

It comes as nib and different well being funds are on the lookout for methods to scale back their prices within the face of declining insurance membership and rising hospital expenses.

nib shares closed 2.1 per cent greater at $6.67, on a day when the ASX200 rose zero.three per cent.

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