Health insurer Medibank breaks into home care market with HealthStrong acquisition

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The health insurance giant is “very focused” on moving into healthcare after buying out HealthStrong, which is Australia’s largest provider of allied health services to residents in aged care facilities and at home, according to The Australian.

“It cements Medibank’s move in the direction of providing care without looking at a bricks and mortar solution,” Medibank’s executive of healthcare and strategy Andrew Wilson said.

“We firmly believe the future of much of healthcare and the growth of healthcare is mobile services.”

HealthStrong, which employs over 300 healthcare professionals, operates in WA, NSW, QLD, VIC and TAS and provides a range of mobile services including physiotherapy, podiatry and pain management.

Mr Wilson says insurance companies in Europe and the US are providing healthcare.

“What we are seeing internationally is … much more integration between providers and payers,” he said.

“For our health insurance business to be successful, we need to make sure there is more healthcare in our customer experience.”

Mr Wilson adds that when Medibank surveyed customers who had received their healthcare services, including home visits from nurses, they had very positive feedback: “They rate it off the charts,” he said.

He’s also predicting a move towards care outside traditional overnight hospitals, such as delivering care in the home community settings and doctors’ surgeries: “We need to do more in that space,” he said.

Mr Wilson also said there was potential to combine some of Medibank’s telehealth services with HealthStrong.

Whether that happens or not, it’s a move that will further heat up the home care market.