HCF grows more than every other health fund combined

4 December 2020 - Sydney,

A sharp focus on members during COVID-19 has seen HCF, Australia’s largest not-for-profit health fund, record growth of its membership in 2019/20 by 6% which is over 18 times the industry rate. In fact HCF grew more than every other health fund combined.

This membership growth is the second successive year where HCF has grown more than the industry combined and is a function of exceptional value in our products as well as improved member retention.

During 2019/20 HCF paid $2.5 billion for members’ hospital and extras services including $700+ million during the outbreak of the pandemic between 1 March and 30 June 2020 alone. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, HCF’s priority has been to provide members with the support they need, at a time when they need it most.

Sheena Jack, HCF CEO said: “2020 has been a tough year for many of our members and we wanted to make sure we could not only support them financially but also rapidly provide access to the healthcare services they needed during the pandemic. This included access to mental health support, telehealth services, and out of hospital care. We’re very pleased this has been recognised by Australians who have trusted us with their health and seen the value in PHI”.

The latest APRA (Australian Prudential Regulation Authority) report has shown that the private health insurance industry has not been immune to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the twelve months to June 2020, the net margin of Australian health funds fell to a low of 2.7%, a decline of 44% compared with 4.9% in the year to June 2019. However, while premium revenue was up 1.4% for the year to June 2020, claims paid by health funds on behalf of members increased by 3.8% for the year ending June 2020.i

“As a not-for profit organisation, our members’ premiums go towards covering the cost of their healthcare and operating our business efficiently to deliver the best outcomes for members, now and in the future. For every dollar members paid in premiums we returned 90 per cent and we have paid out more than the industry average over the past five years” said Jack.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, the fund has committed more than $100 million towards much-needed support for members. Support measures included a number of financial hardship measures including HCF’s Involuntary Unemployment Assistance benefit which was widened to support more than 56,500 members who have been made redundant, stood down, or who had suffered reduced hours.

Furthermore, premium waivers or policy suspensions due to financial hardship have been made available and HCF postponed premium increases for six months for all members. HCF also made the early decision that all hospital policies would cover any COVID-19 related hospital admissions at no extra cost to members.

“Our only reason for being is to serve our members. We do that by delivering what they need when they need it. We are assessing and updating our products and services on a regular basis like the introduction of Australia’s first no-gap pregnancy package with Sydney’s SAN Hospital. These types of initiatives ensure private health insurance remains as relevant now as ever, and our members receive high quality and safe to access services.” adds Ms Jack.


Issued on behalf of HCF by OPR Agency. Media enquiries to:

Samantha Gale

HCF, Australia’s largest not-for-profit health fund protecting Australians since 1932, covers over 1.6 million members with health and life insurance, and 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 Healthy Weight for Life programs, mobile Victor Chang Heart Health Checks, Thank You rewards program, and preparing for hospital online tool. 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

iOperations of Private Health Insurers Annual Report 2019-20, available at: https://www.apra.gov.au/operations-of-private-health-insurers-annual-report