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Private health body reports increased consumer interest

10 August 2011 - 2:36pm

The Private Health Insurance Ombudsman (PHIO) has reported a dramatic increase in traffic to its website, signifying a surge of interest in the private health industry.

According to a report released last month (July 2011), the website has in excess of 40,000 hits per day, a number which PHIO says is the highest amount of traffic since its launch in 2007.

This was a dramatic spike compared to the month before, where unique hits were hovering under 30,000 per month.

The website is currently developing new educational materials such as updated fund information and a series of videos to help everyday Australians discover the benefits of private health cover.

Another improvement in the works is a Google Maps feature that allows consumers to identify hospitals that are covered by different private health insurance providers.

The increase in traffic is likely a cause of the large number of consumers who rushed to the site to find out more information about taking out private health cover before the end of the financial year in order to avoid paying the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS).

The MLS is a tax on individuals who earn over $80,000 a year and don't have private cover and is designed to encourage people to experience the benefits of private health insurance.