Private insurers eye off Primary Health Networks

Medibank Private and Bupa have both said they will consider tendering for the Medicare Locals, while NIB refused to rule out doing so.

A Medibank spokeswoman told MO that although there was no detailed information or documentation on the government's proposed Primary Health Networks (PHNs), Medibank would "assess it for potential opportunities" if documentation became available.

Bupa, which did not respond to MO's requests for comment, earlier told Fairfax it would watch the tender process with interest.

Professor Fran Baum, director of the Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity at Flinders University, said the plan was a move away from an integrated health system and would see PHNs focus on clinical services rather than looking at health proactively.

"I think it's highly predictable," said Professor Baum, who worried the move was a first step toward a more inequitable, two-tier health system.