The privatisation of Australia's largest insurance provider begins on October 28, as shares in the company go on sale.
The sale of Medibank is designed to make the health insurance market more competitive, as the government steps back from being a provider of cover to the general population.
As the health insurer prepares to be sold and listed on the ASX, the first stage of the Medibank flotation will involve shares in the soon-to-be-private entity being sold, raising approximately $5 billion for the government as these are priced at $1.55 to $2 per share.
The privatisation of Medibank will also be the biggest initial public offering (IPO) in the Asia region for almost two years.
The question remains: What is to happen to a range of government subsidies that encouraged people to start looking into their health protection?
Since 1999, the federal government have searched to incentivise the purchase of private health insurance to release some of the strain put on the public health system. Australians began to receive 30 per cent of their insurance costs back from the state – a welcome bonus that encouraged many to reconsider the level of protection they afford themselves and also avoid the penalties for not participating.
In its first year, the initiative led to the number of Australians using the private health system to leap from 32 per cent to almost half of the nation (46 per cent), according to Reuters.
Since then, that portion of the nation with private health cover has remained relatively unchanged.
So what does the Medibank Private flotation mean for the consumer?
The reshuffle opens the door for businesses and individuals alike to start comparing their health insurance to make sure they are equipped with a level of cover at a cost that suits them.
Robert Cook, portfolio manager at fund manager S.G. Hiscock & Co, told Reuters there may be some uncertainty over how premiums will be regulated and incentives re-imagined after Medibank becomes a private entity
"[The questions surrounding subsidy cuts] are long-term, searching questions and I'm not sure that the answers will become apparent in the next year or two, which may suggest the government's getting out at a good time," Mr Cook explained to the news agency.
Health insurance customers can be sure that advice and help is at hand. After all, the health insurance industry is essentially important, though complicated.
As a health insurance broker, HICA works for businesses of all sizes and individuals to help protect their own health and that of their employees.