Medibank Private has declared a special dividend after lifting profit and adding 15,000 members during a year in which private health insurance cover nationwide dropped to its lowest level in more than a decade.
The private health insurer says profit for the 12 months to June 30 rose 3.1 per cent to $458.7 million after the net addition of 15,000 customers helped lift revenue 2.9 per cent.
While official data this week showed the number of people in Australia with basic hospital cover at a 12-year low, chief executive Craig Drummond said the number of Medibank policyholders grew in all four quarters for the first time in four years.
The rise increased Medibank’s full-year market share for the first time in a decade.
“This is a good quality result, demonstrating that the investment we have made to improve the value and service proposition for our customers is making our business stronger and more sustainable in a challenging market environment,” Mr Drummond said on Thursday.
“It is pleasing that our market share has grown five basis points over the year, driven by our dual brand strategy and improved customer acquisition and retention.”
Medibank, which also operates the AHM brand, raised its fully franked final dividend by 0.2 cents to 7.4 cents and will also pay a fully franked special dividend of 2.5 cents.