FAQs
on yourpremium changes

As Australia’s largest not-for-profit health fund, we’re here to protect the health of you and your loved ones in good times and bad. Which is why during the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve provided members with over $100 million in ongoing benefits and support, including the deferral for all members of the scheduled April premium increase until 6 October 2020 and financial relief for more than 60,000~ members doing it tough.

During the pandemic, we’ve paid out over half a billion~ in hospital and extras benefits, and found safer, more convenient ways for members to continue accessing quality health care from home.

The over $100 million in ongoing financial and health support for members far outweighs any modest claims savings we’re likely to see. If, over time, we do realise a greater reduction in claims, we’re committed to returning any savings to our members.

GET IN TOUCH

Do you have a question about your premium change? We understand there’s a lot to wrap your head around. If you can’t find an answer below, our friendly team of experts are always happy to help, so give us a call on 13 13 34. We’re here for you seven days a week.  

Or you can email us or ask us in branch if it’s safe for you to do so. Make sure to check if our branches are open in your area. 

Q1. Why was my premium increase postponed?

Earlier this year, in our drive to support members during COVID-19, we postponed the annual premium change until 6 October 2020.

Every year all Australian health funds review their policies and premiums to balance out the rising costs of health care. These reviews and changes come into effect every April, but because of COVID-19 we held off our increase to better support our members.

Q2. Why are premiums going up now?

We postponed premium changes for 6 months and as a not-for-profit health fund, we’d prefer to have no increase at all. However, health costs are rising in response to growing and increasingly complex health needs. There are three main reasons:

  • More people are going to hospital and accessing more and more health services each year.
  • More people are living with chronic health problems, which are costly to manage.
  • Advances in health technologies and treatments offer better outcomes but often cost more.

Last year, for example, we paid $2.4 billion for members’ hospital and extras benefits. We also know our members expect great value cover and access to timely, high-quality health services, now more so than ever. We try to keep premium changes down while delivering exceptional service and improvements where our members can benefit most.

Q3. Will premiums also change on 1 April 2021?

We’ll be reviewing premiums again in April like we do every year, however, this year we postponed the review by six months. But as Australia’s largest not for profit, our focus is on delivering value to our members and we do everything we can to keep the cost of your health cover as low as possible.

We review premiums to balance rising healthcare costs and the amount we pay out in claims, making sure we're well-placed to continue delivering value-for-money, high quality health cover.

Q4. What support did HCF give members in the last six months?

We’ve provided members with over $100 million in ongoing benefits and support, including the deferral for all members of the scheduled April premium increase until 6 October 2020 and financial relief for more than 60,000~ members doing it tough.

During the pandemic, we’ve paid out over half a billion~ in hospital and extras benefits and found safer, more convenient ways for members to continue accessing quality health care from home like:

  • holistic mental health and wellbeing support
  • one-to-one telehealth services
  • a COVID-19 nurse helpline
  • at-home health care for eligible members.

We’ve got your back in good times and bad. And in times like these, we’re as committed as ever to showing our members a level of care that’s uncommon

Q5. Why is my premium change different from the amount you told me earlier this year?

If your premium looks different from the amount we told you to expect in April, there could be a few reasons.

Firstly, the Australian Government Rebate for private health insurance, which forms part of your premium, isn’t changing this year.

Usually, the government gives back less in rebates each year. However, because of COVID-19, the Australian Government is keeping the rebate tiers (which forms part of your premium) at the same level as 2019. This means your overall premium may be less than what we told you earlier this year.

Please also keep in mind, the government rebate will also change if your income has changed.

Secondly, your premium might be different if you’ve made changes to your cover, or if you’ve added or removed people from your policy.

Read more about the Australian Government Rebate

Q6. When will I hear about my new premium?

You’ll be notified about your new premium by mid September 2020 by email or post. You can also find information about your premium change in online member services.

Your first payment after 6 October 2020 will reflect your new premium. You won’t be charged if you’ve already locked and pre-paid your health insurance premiums before 1 April 2020.

Q7. Can I lock in my current health insurance premium?

Yes, you can lock in your current premiums, paying up to 18 months in advance, provided we receive your payment before the pre-payment deadlines:

PAYMENT METHOD PRE-PAYMENT DEADLINE
Direct debit – credit card or bank account
5.30pm (AEST/AEDT), Thursday, 1 October 2020
Phone 13 14 39 5.30pm (AEST/AEDT), Thursday, 1 October 2020
Online member services
5.30pm (AEST/AEDT), Thursday, 1 October 2020
In branch (Please note: we’ll only accept a credit card in branch)
5.30pm (AEST/AEDT), Thursday, 1 October 2020
BPAY
Monday, 28 September 2020

Keep in mind we’re no longer accepting cheques. But you can save time and hassle by automating your premium payments at a frequency that suits you. This could be weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or even yearly. You can do this by:

Please note: If you pay by BPAY, you'll need to adjust your payment amount for payments after 6 October 2020.

Q8. My premium increased more than the national average percentage. Why did this happen?

The Australian Government calculates the national average based on the premium increases it approves for all Australian health funds.

Because your premium increase relates to your chosen level of HCF cover, it may be different to the national average (or the HCF average). Your premium increase reflects the balance between managing member payments against the claims we pay out for all members on your level of cover in your state.

Q9. Why has my premium gone up, but my benefits haven’t increased, and I've made few, or no claims?

Private health insurance in Australia is community-rated rather than risk-rated. This means you pay the same premium for the same level of cover as everyone else in your state, regardless of your age, health status, or the number of claims you make. This helps make private health insurance more accessible for everyone.

The reason premiums increase is so we have enough money to cover the benefits we pay over the next year. This increase is the balance between the premiums we receive from members on your level of cover, versus the claims we pay out to members on the same level of cover.

Also, more money is being spent on health across Australia, so we’re now paying out more on average per policy than in the past.

Q10. What is HCF doing to lower the cost of health insurance?

On one hand, technological advances and breakthroughs in health care have led to incredible improvements in medical treatment. But on the other hand, these advances are more expensive.

It’s our responsibility to ensure your premiums allow us to provide the high-quality level of health cover that you deserve. But we do have ways to help make your health insurance more affordable:

  • Our handy Participating Provider search tool means we work closely with hospitals, doctors and extras providers in our network to help you either avoid or reduce your out-of-pocket expenses.
  • We work directly with the Department for Health and Minister for Health to influence reform to lower healthcare costs and the average premium increases.
  • Our Preparing for Hospital pages provide guidance on preparing for a hospital admission and feature a cost indicator tool that outlines the typical costs, potential out-of-pocket expenses, and the difference your choice of doctor and hospital can make.
  • We also offer eligible members a second opinion from a network of medical specialists at no extra costs*. Comparing advice can give you confidence if both doctors agree. Or it can give you a different view of your health and medical options – one of which might be a more affordable option.
  • Through our More for You program, eligible members could get 100% back on extras like dental, optical and physiotherapy when visiting a provider in our network^.
  • We invest and support health services like the HCF Research Foundation and HCF Catalyst to drive innovation with the aim of creating more effective and efficient health care.

Q11. Why does the government give back less in the Australian Government Rebate on private health insurance each year?

The Australian Government Rebate on private health insurance was introduced in 1999 to help make health insurance more affordable.

Each year on 1 April, the government compares the national average of health fund premium increases to the standard cost of living in Australia, known as Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Usually, the government gives back less in rebates each year. However, because of COVID-19, the Australian Government is keeping the rebate tiers (which forms part of your premium) at the same level as 2019.

Unfortunately, because the rebate is a government initiative, we don’t have control over how much they reduce it by. For more information on changes to the rebate visit privatehealth.gov.au or ato.gov.au

Q12. Why has HCF sent me a Private Health Insurance Statement with my premium review?

Your letter or email will include your Private Health Insurance Statement. This outlines your cover with a list of what is and isn’t covered as well as your waiting periods and limits for the year. We’ll now get this to you at least once a year with your premium review letter or email.

Q13. I have more questions – who can I speak to?

If you have a question about your premium change, we're here to help. Our friendly team of health cover experts are always happy to discuss your health insurance needs, so give us a call on 13 13 34:

  • Mon-Fri: 8am–8pm AEST/AEDT
  • Sat-Sun: 9am–5pm AEST/AEDT

Or you can email us or ask us in branch if it’s safe for you to do so. Make sure to check if our branches are open in your area.

You can also find more information about how private health insurance works at private health care explained or take a look at our member guide

PUTTING PEOPLE BEFORE PROFIT

When it comes to health care, people want to know they’ll be genuinely cared for in their time of need. There’s care – and then there’s Uncommon Care. As Australia’s largest not-for-profit health insurer, our members got more benefits+ back for every dollar paid in premiums than the industry average over the past five years and the peace of mind that HCF is Australia’s most-trusted# health fund.

Find out more

AVOIDING UNEXPECTED DOCTOR’S COSTS

Understanding doctors' fees and charges is the key to avoiding bill shock. Here's what you need to know.

UNDERSTANDING THE COSTS

How to get the most out of your private health insurance.

PRIVATE HEALTH CARE EXPLAINED

What you need to know about the private system.

HCF THANK YOU LOYALTY PROGRAM

You don’t have to be unwell to get great value from your cover with our exclusive range of loyalty offers and rewards**.

Important Information

~Figures current for the period 1 March 2020 to 28 July 2020.

*Must have had hospital cover for 12 months and a specialist consultation to use this service. Excludes Accident Only Basic cover. Conditions apply.

^Depends on your level of cover and annual limits.

+89% compared to 86% across the industry. Calculated based on the average of the past 5 years, sourced from APRA, Statistics: Quarterly Private Health Insurance Statistics, June 2019; APRA, Statistics: Private Health Insurance Operations Report 2015-18, June 2018.

#Roy Morgan Net Trust Survey 2018 & 2019.

**Eligibility criteria applies. You can access HCF Thank You offers after you've been a member for a month and if your premiums are up to date. Excludes Ambulance Only and Overseas Visitors Health Cover.