The federal government has appointed key advisers to prepare for the sale of health insurer Medibank Private, increasing the prospects it might be announced in next year's budget.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann announced that a panel to conduct a scoping study would report back in February next year so its findings can be considered ahead of the 2014-15 budget.
Lazard Pty Ltd is the business adviser, Herbert Smith Freehills the legal adviser, Ernst and Young the accounting adviser while the Australian Government Solicitor is advising on probity matters.
The study will provide recommendations to government on all aspects of the proposed sale including method, timing, costs, regulatory issues and estimated proceeds.
The entity has previously been valued at $4.5 billion.
With 3.8 million members, Medibank Private is Australia's largest health insurance provider and government owned.
Senator Cormann said there was "no compelling policy reason" for the federal government to continue ownership of the asset.