HCF continues to support Australians with additional benefits following the launch of new product suite

Comfirms timetable for introduction of Gold, Silver, Bronze, Basic

22 March 2019 – HCF, Australia’s largest not-for-profit health insurer has, today, announced their new Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic cover categories, in response to the government initiated Private Health Insurance Reforms, which take effect 1 April 2019. Underpinning the reforms is the desire to remove complexity, standardise clinical definitions and help consumers compare products.

Under the new, simplified tiered system, HCF will offer Hospital products in Gold, Silver Plus, Silver, Bronze Plus, Basic Plus and Basic categories. In designing our Hospital products we have taken into account the needs of everyday Australians to ensure that they receive the best cover at the most affordable price.

In addition to the simplified system, HCF will pay certain benefits towards members’ travel and accommodation under hospital cover as well as offer the option to choose products with higher excesses in return for lower premiums.

HCF Chief Executive Officer Sheena Jack, said that HCF has worked hard to deliver a suite of products that best suit the varying needs of its members. Most members will benefit from the changes or see minimal to no changes at all.

“For those products where benefits have changed, we have clarified those changes with impacted members to ensure they are aware of the changes to their policies and to discuss their cover options,” she said.

“For younger people we are introducing a competitively priced youth package, which will feature the treatments and services most likely to be used by younger people and with more flexibility in how extras are used,” Ms Jack said.

From 1 April 2019, approximately 50% of our policies will transition to Gold, Silver, Bronze Plus, Basic Plus or Basic classified Hospital products. We will be working on transitioning the remaining 50% by April 1, 2020 so that by that time all of our Hospital products comply with the new classifications.

All of our on-sale Retail and Corporate Hospital products for new and existing members will be classified under the new tiering system from 1 April 2019.

“Empowered consumers are a win for everyone. Consumers with the right policies will be better covered and have their expectations met when they come to claim – in turn this reinforces the value of private health insurance,” said Ms Jack.

“As with any regulated category, there are complexities involved in the changes. We are committed to helping our members through this transition and encourage them to contact us if they have questions, want to review their cover or even consider ways to save money”, Ms Jack said.

Pre-payment of premiums prior to 1 April and the new $750 excess option are two examples of how consumers can reduce premiums.

Following the transition to Gold, Silver, Bronze, Basic there are still features or considerations that will affect premiums. For example:

  • Coverage of items in “Plus” categories may differ as each fund could add a different clinical category;
  • The level and extent of Medical No-Gap or Known-Gap services;
  • Coverage of in-hospital services such as radiology and pathology;
  • The coverage of ancillary services (dental, optical, etc.);
  • Agreements with ancillary providers that reduce or eliminate out of pockets such as our ‘More For’ programs; and
  • The level of rebate applicable to the individual.

The sweeping changes come as HCF announces its 2019 average premium increase of 3.2%, its lowest average increase in 17 years and below industry average (3.25%).

Premium increases reflect the increasing cost of healthcare given the ageing population, increasing prevalence of chronic disease, increased use of higher cost medical interventions and technology and increasing demand for health services. HCF consistently pays more more back to its members as benefits than the industry average.

“We have been doing everything within our control to minimise premium increases and to ensure our members get the best value for money.

The implementation of the reforms is a good opportunity for Australians to review their policies and to make sure they are getting the best cover to suit their needs,” Ms Jack concluded.

In 2017/18 HCF provided private health insurance to more than 1.5 million members; paid more than $2.2 billion to members in hospital and extras claims and covered more than 589,000 hospital admissions.

For more information visit www.hcf.com.au call 13 13 34 or visit a branch. 

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Issued on behalf of HCF by Palin Communications. Media enquiries to:

ABOUT HCF

HCF, Australia’s largest not-for-profit health fund protecting Australians since 1932, covers over 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 programs, HCF gives members access to quality health care with no gaps or minimal costs compared to non-participating providers. 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 Health Checks and My Global Specialist second opinion service. HCF’s national network of retail outlets and Australian-based call centres have earned multi-award winning status. HCF members also have access to low cost, high quality services at HCF Dental Centres and HCF Eyecare 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