The head of private health insurance provider nib has suggested that there is no longer a need for the federal government to own the Medibank Private.
Speaking to BusinessDay today (May 3), nib managing director Mark Fitzgibbon stated that he expects Medibank to become a publicly-traded company should the Coalition win the next election.
"We don't need 36 health insurers – we don't need government to own one of them, the largest,'' he told the Fairfax Media source.
''The government no more needs to own Medibank Private than it needs to own Qantas or Commonwealth Bank or Telstra.''
Speculation around the sale has been circling for some months – however rumours have always been denied.
A Finance and Public Administration Senate estimates hearing in October 2011 was told that there were no plans to sell the health insurer.
"We are certainly not doing any work on a potential sale of Medibank, it is not government policy and we are not doing any work on it," deputy secretary of the Finance Department Jan Mason said at the time.
Medibank Private is Australia's largest private health fund and has been government-owned since its inception in 1976.