COVID-19 MEMBER SUPPORT

As Australia’s largest not-for-profit health fund, we’re keeping our promise of not profiting from the pandemic and returning an additional $66 million in claims savings as part of our continued COVID-19 support for members.

Given we’ve not yet experienced the expected increase in claims due to the postponement of some health services, we're passing on these savings to members by freezing premiums at current rates until 1 November 2022.

This decision aligns with our commitment to keep health cover affordable and available to as many Australians as possible.

Since the onset of the pandemic, we've provided value and support to members, including:

  • $150 million in total financial support (including two premium rise deferrals)
  • premium relief to over 71,000 members experiencing financial hardship so they could maintain their health cover
  • $2.8 billion in benefits for members, covering over 630,000 hospital admissions and 10 million extras visits^
  • free HCF HealthyMinds Check-in+, giving faster, easier access to qualified mental health professionals and digital support services
  • updated hospital policies to cover COVID-19 related hospital admissions, at no extra cost#
  • greater flexibility in how, when and where their care was delivered, many from the convenience and safety of their homes, including telehealth services, mental health and wellbeing programs and hospital treatments at home.
PREMIUM RATE FREEZE UNTIL
1 NOVEMBER 2022
$150 MILLION PROVIDED
IN TOTAL FINANCIAL SUPPORT
$2.8 BILLION^ PAID
IN BENEFITS COVERING HOSPITAL AND EXTRAS SERVICES
FREE ACCESS TO AN HCF HEALTHYMINDS CHECK-IN FOR ELIGIBLE MEMBERS+

COVID-19 VACCINATIONS PROTECTING YOURSELF AND OTHERS

The COVID-19 vaccination program is currently being rolled out across Australia. Getting vaccinated means you’re helping to protect yourself, your loved ones and the community. As Australia’s largest not-for-profit health fund, we put our 1.7 million members at the heart of everything we do. That’s why we want to play our role in getting life back to normal, and the country back open for business. We encourage those who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine to make a booking or to have a conversation with your doctor. The rules and guidelines are different in each state, so it’s important to check the Government’s Vaccine Eligibility Checker and keep up to date with vaccine requirements.

Find nearest vaccine clinic FAQs

ELECTIVE SURGERY UPDATE

We understand times like these can be confusing, especially when it comes to going to hospital for an elective procedure. Following the postponement of some elective surgery, selected private hospitals are re-opening for non-urgent elective surgeries (depending on state restrictions). If your procedure has been postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions or you're booked in for an upcoming elective surgery, we recommend speaking to your treating specialist to confirm your surgery will still go ahead.
 
Learn more

Looking after your health and wellbeing

  • Faster access to mental health support: We recognise the importance of mental health, especially in times like these. That’s why we're leading the way with our mental health and wellbeing programs, designed to give you faster, easier and more flexible access to the support and treatment that’s right for you. Learn more.
  • Telehealth extras during COVID-19: Stay on top of your health and get value from your cover with our range of telehealth services. Claim on extras like physio, dietetics, birthing classes, occupational therapy and podiatry from HCF recognised providers until 31 December 2021, depending on your level of cover. Learn more.
  • Treatment at home & nurse helpline: Our range of in-home hospital support gives you access to quality care from the convenience and safety of your home. Eligible members can access a wide range of treatment options from HCF contracted providers including chemotherapy, rehab following hip or knee surgery, intravenous antibiotics and complex wound care**. Members can also speak with experienced nurses over the phone for expert health advice and resources on any health concerns. Learn more or call our nurse helpline on 13 13 34.
  • Helping you stay healthy and active: Juggling the demands of health and life during a pandemic can feel overwhelming. That’s why we’re giving you online access to hundreds of articles to help you stay on top of and make confident decisions about your health. From trusted information on health issues and treatments to tips and actionable advice on nutrition, mental health and fitness, we want to make it easier for you to find the guidance and answers you’re looking for. Read more.

HELP IF YOU’RE FINANCIALLY IMPACTED

Losing your job can be an incredibly stressful experience and you may be wondering how you’re going to make ends meet. We’re here for you, and we’ll do what we can to help you with your health cover.

Our Involuntary Unemployment Assistance allows eligible members who’ve had hospital cover for at least 12 months to remain covered by paying their premiums for up to 6 months. We'll also help you review what’s right for your needs, including other options that are available if you've been with us for less than 12 months or don’t meet the criteria for Involuntary Unemployment Assistance.

Involuntary Unemployment Assistance is included in most of our health covers (excluding Extras Only, Ambulance Only and Overseas Visitors Health Cover). We’ve made this easier for you to access during COVID-19, and we've now temporarily extended those changes until 31 December 2021.

Read more Contact us

COVID-19 MEMBER SUPPORT FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why is HCF giving back?
When it comes to healthcare, people want to know they’ll be genuinely cared for in their time of need. As Australians face ongoing challenges to their health and wellbeing, we’re keeping our promise of not profiting from the pandemic and returning an additional $66 million in claims savings as part of our continued COVID-19 support for members. This decision aligns with our commitment to put the health of our members first and is part of the $150 million we’ve provided in total financial support.

How is HCF giving back?
Due to the postponement and reduced access to some health services throughout the pandemic, we're passing on an additional $66 million in claims savings to all members by freezing premiums at current rates until 1 November 2022.

This decision aligns with our commitment to put the health of our members first and is part of the $150 million we’ve provided in total financial support.

In addition, we’ve seen the growing importance of having quick and early access to mental health support when and where you need it. That’s why we’re temporarily expanding our mental health offering to include a free HCF HealthyMinds Check-in for all members from 12 October 2021 to 31 January 2022#. This gives members faster, easier access to qualified mental health professionals and digital support services to help you take control of your mental wellbeing.

We've also given members greater flexibility in how, when and where their care was delivered, many from the convenience and safety of their homes through our telehealth services and hospital treatments at home.

What are COVID-19 claim savings?
Since the onset of the pandemic last financial year, health insurers have been required by the industry regulator to maintain provisions to cover the cost of the anticipated suspension of elective surgeries and claims after the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. COVID-19 claims savings are excess funds held which we’re returning to our members as part of our commitment to not profiting from the pandemic.

Why do you need a rate rise given the low level of activity in 2021?
It’s true there was less than expected hospital activity during COVID-19 lockdowns – particularly in Victoria and New South Wales. We still however saw significant levels of hospital and ancillary activity throughout the year. Over the past financial year, HCF has paid $2.8 billion in benefits for our members, covering over 630,000 hospital admissions and 10 million extras visits for popular services such as physio, dental and chiro.

We’d prefer not to raise our premiums at all and as a not-for-profit organisation we strive to maintain the lowest premiums possible. However, we do need to raise sufficient funds to cover expected claims and ensure we can continue to deliver high quality care to our members.

As we emerge from the latest lockdowns, we expect to see further fluctuations in claims as service providers get back to normal. We also expect an increased demand for inpatient mental health treatment, elective surgery due to public wait time blow-outs and people presenting to health services with more advanced diseases resulting from limited access to health checks and preventive services. We need to make sure we have sufficient funds to cover those costs when they occur.

While the health and economic impacts of the pandemic are not yet fully understood, we’ll continue to honour our commitment to return any further COVID-19 related claims savings to our members.

What was the level of premiums raised and the level of claims for 2020/21?
We saw significant levels of hospital and ancillary activity throughout the year. Over the past financial year, HCF has paid $2.8 billion in benefits for our members, covering over 630,000 hospital admissions and 10 million extras visits for popular services such as physio, dental and chiro.

In line with APRA guidance, we had set aside provisions to cover delayed claims arising from elective surgery shutdowns. The anticipated volume in claims due to the postponement of some health services has not fully eventuated, which means we're passing these saving on to all members by freezing premiums at current rates until 1 November 2022.

Why couldn’t this refund come as a discount off my next bill?

The decision to freeze premiums at current rates until 1 November 2022 was the simplest and most cost-effective way of ensuring every dollar of savings is returned to members and in line with our commitment to keep health cover affordable and available to as many Australians as possible.

Can I choose to have my return paid via cash or discounted off my next bill?

No. This option was considered although our members pay their premiums in different ways and frequencies. The decision to freeze premiums at current rates until 1 November 2022 was the simplest and most cost-effective way of ensuring every dollar of savings is returned to members and is in line with our commitment to keep health cover affordable and available to as many Australians as possible.

What else has HCF done to support members throughout COVID-19?

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we've put the health of our members first and have given back $150 million in financial support, including premium relief to over 71,000 members experiencing hardship to make sure they remained covered throughout the pandemic.

We made the early decision that all hospital policies would cover COVID-19 related hospital admissions, at no extra cost to members#. And we’ve provided peace of mind and protection for those needing urgent dental and hospital treatment for conditions unrelated to COVID-19 such as childbirth, cardiology, cancer treatment, in-hospital mental health treatment and accidents.

We've also given members greater flexibility in how, when and where their care was delivered, many from the convenience and safety of their homes. This included mental health support, telehealth services and hospital treatments at home.

What if my policy is currently suspended, will I still receive the savings?

You don’t need to make payments towards your premiums while a membership is suspended which also means no benefits are payable. If you resume your HCF membership before 1 November 2022, you’ll still benefit from the premium freeze at current rates until 1 November 2022.

What if I’ve prepaid my premium beyond October 2021?

Depending on when your premium is prepaid until, you can still benefit from the freezing of premiums at current rates until 1 November 2022. You’re also able to pre-pay and lock in your current premium for up to 18 months (from the day you make the payment) and will still have the option to benefit from the premium freeze at current rates until 1 November 2022.

How will this affect my next payment?

You won’t need to do anything and your current premiums will stay the same until 1 November 2022. You can continue paying via your normal payment method.

How is the give back calculated and applied to my policy?

Members pay premiums in different ways and frequencies and the freezing of premium rates was the simplest and most cost-effective way of ensuring every dollar of savings is returned to members and in line with our commitment to keep health cover affordable and available to as many Australians as possible.

Ways to connect with us

CALL US TODAY

We’re open: Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 9am-5pm (AEST/AEDT).
Call 13 13 34.

SEND AN EMAIL

Head over to our Contact Us page and complete the form to send us an email.

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LOG IN ONLINE

Managing your account on the go is easy with our online member services tool.

Important Information

^All figures for the 2020-21 Financial Year.

+Service is available free to all members who are financial with hospital and/or extras products for a limited time that ends 31 January 2022. Excludes Ambulance Only, Accident Only and Overseas Visitors Health Cover.

#Some claims from Overseas Visitors Health Cover are excluded. Overseas Visitors Health Cover members should check their product information to see if they're covered.

**Available with HCF contracted providers, subject to member location and hospital cover. Waiting periods apply. You must have a suitable home environment to be treated in.