HCF defers premium increases for a third time
Tuesday, February 7, 2023: HCF, Australia’s largest not-for-profit health fund today announced that the Federal Health Minister had approved its average 3.33 per cent premium increase for 2023. HCF’s three-year average increase for members is the lowest of the top five health insurers in Australia.
HCF said it would be deferring this upcoming increase, which normally occurs on April 1, to later this year to assist members with mounting cost of living pressures. We’re looking to extend the deferral for as long as possible and will advise members once a date has been finalised.
HCF has more than 900,000 health insurance policies covering 1.9 million members.
HCF CEO Sheena Jack said the fund was continuously working to ensure health cover remained affordable for members.
“We understand that members are feeling financial stress when it comes to cost of living expenses which is why we have kept premium increases as low as we can, and deferred the rise until later in the year,” Ms Jack said.
“As a not-for-profit health fund that returns 90 cents in every dollar back to members, more than any other insurer, we understand a lot of people are doing it tough, which is why we want to keep the impact on members’ health insurance costs to a minimum."
“There are multiple factors that contribute to increased premiums, including growing demand for inpatient mental health services and increased demand for elective surgery due to public hospital wait times. The largest factor increasing premiums for Australian families is the inflated price of medical devices."
“Unfortunately there are a lot of monetary pressures on the health sector as it’s also impacted by inflation and the cost of doing business. Hospital costs in particular face the rising price of staff recruitment, power and food.”
Despite this, HCF has reminded members that access to free GP, mental health, dental, chiropractic and physiotherapy care and even a second opinion on health conditions may be just a click away, as part of their membership.
HCF members can find further significant savings on their household and health bills by:
- Using HCF’s Thank You loyalty program which provides access to significant savings on everyday household spending items like groceries and fuel, as well as shopping and entertainment, which can quickly equate to an average saving of about $1,000 per year. Last year our members saved $3.9m through the Thank You program – almost $230,000 of that on groceries
- Accessing the ‘More For’ no-gap services: members can get 100% back on a dental check-up, some prescription glasses and a first visit to a physio, chiro or osteo when they see an extras provider in our No-Gap network
- Use HCF’s ‘no-gap’ search tool to find a specialist who charges no, or a known gap (capped at $500)
- Accessing member-only free health services, including mental health support; second opinion services; family nutrition support; online GP appointments; dietician-led weight management programs
Ms Jack said the savings and services HCF members had access to were proof that it paid to belong, regardless of premium changes.
“While we don’t want to increase premiums at all, they are necessary to enable us to ensure we can continue to deliver in a financially sustainable way to our members,” Ms Jack said.
HCF has supported members in recent times with more than $300 million in COVID-19 benefits. This support included freezing premiums, extending cover for COVID-19 related hospital admissions; offering premium relief for more than 72,300 eligible members experiencing hardship; and a give back to eligible members in December 2022.
HCF members who would like to find out more about their cover and its benefits can call 13 13 34 or visit their local branch.
Media contact: Scott McIntyre on 0491 272 601