HCF announces lowest annual rate increase in more than a decade and well below the industry average

Sydney, 10 February 2017 – HCF, Australia’s leading not-for-profit private health fund, has today announced an average premium rate change of 3.65% for its members*, the lowest rate increase in over decade. The premium rate change is below the industry average of 4.84% released by the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, and is the lowest premium increase amongst the major insurers.

Shaun Larkin, HCF Managing Director, said HCF is committed to keeping premium increases to a minimum as part of its vision to make health care affordable, understandable, high-quality and customer-centric.

“There is no question that health care costs have been increasing above CPI over a number of years, which is why we have been focused on addressing affordability concerns and delivering value to our members. We are also committed to providing access to information that clearly outlines what members can expect from their policy and related claims and benefits; doing so in a way that is jargon-free, simple, and practical,” Mr Larkin said.

For example, with more than 1.5 million members across Australia, HCF has delivered value for many years by having the industry leading no-gap scheme for medical services, resulting in HCF members receiving the highest levels of no-gap service across Australia.^

“HCF is unique among the major health funds – as a not-for-profit, we can sustainably operate on lower margins and put our members at the centre of all we do. This has allowed us to deliver our lowest rate in more than a decade to our members.” Mr Larkin said.

“We believe the best way to be a true partner in Australian’s health is to take an active role in addressing issues at the core of cost pressures, which is why we continue to actively support prosthesis reform. As previously promised, we are passing on 100% of the savings from the recent revisions to the Prosthesis List to members.

“It is great to see the government responding to industry and consumer calls in this area – it does not make sense for one part of the health system to pay more than five times more for the exact same product. Prostheses reform in the current format the previous Minister for Health announced is a great first step, realising around $86 million in savings that can go back into the pocket of Australians. But we are only at the start of this journey; with potential projected savings of approximately $800 million, there is further work to be done in this area to ease the pressure on many families across Australia. We look forward to seeing the newly appointed Minister take further action sooner rather than later so that consumers can benefit further.”

Mr Larkin concluded by saying, “We remain committed to providing straight-talking information for members so they can make the best choices around their policy but also so they get the most out of their cover, because health comes first.”

*The premium increase will take effect on 1 April 2017.

^Private Health Insurance Ombudsman, State of the Health Funds Report 2015, accessed here.


Key facts and figures:

  • Each year, the Australian Government reduces its Federal Government Rebate on Private Health Insurance. The premium rate increase is also partly driven by this continued erosion of this Rebate.
  • Since 2011, the cost of hospital, medical and prosthesis benefit payments have increased by more than 50 per cent, whereas HCF’s average private health premium has increased by only 36 per cent in the same timeframe.
  • More than 13.5 million Australians have private health insurance and almost half of them have an annual income of less than $50,000.
  • 84% of Australians with private health insurance value the product, want to keep it and make considerable sacrifices to do so but they are concerned about affordability. (IPSOS)
  • PHI pays for close to two thirds of non-emergency surgery in Australia, 90% of day admissions for mental health care and 50% of all mental health admissions, 70% of joint replacements, 60% of chemotherapy and 88% of retinal procedures take place in the private health sector.
  • In addition, under ancillary (extras) cover, health funds pay out more than $2.5 billion for dental care, more than the Federal Government. 90% of dental health services provided to low and middle income earners are subsidised by health funds.

The following spokespeople are available for interview:

  • Shaun Larkin, HCF Managing Director

Issued on behalf of HCF by WE Buchan. Media inquiries to:


About HCF

HCF, leading not-for-profit health fund protecting Australians since 1932, covers around 1.5 million members with health and life insurance, community care, travel and pet insurance.

On average over the last five years, HCF has paid out more cents in every dollar in premiums to members as benefits than the industry average.

With over 35,000 specialists participating in its Medical Gap Cover Scheme and approximately 10,000 providers participating in its 100% back More for You ancillary programs, HCF gives members access to a wide range of quality health care services with no gap.

To empower members to put their health first, HCF also offers a range of health and lifestyle services including its My Health Guardian health management program, mobile Victor Chang Heart Health Checks and My Global Specialist second opinion service. 

HCF’s national network of retail outlets and 100% Australian-based call centres have won multiple national and international awards.

HCF members also have unique access to HCF Dental Centres.

Having contributed $50 million to support the health services research funded by the HCF Research Foundation, HCF is devoted to investing in the future of Australia’s health.

To learn more about HCF go to hcf.com.au/about-us