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About HBF

HBF takes a stand to keep premiums down

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WA’s biggest not-for-profit health fund is making a stand on behalf of its 800,000 members in refusing demands for a hike in prices from the share market listed hospital group, Ramsay Health Care.

Managing Director, Rob Bransby said HBF believed the price hike being demanded by Ramsay Health Care was unreasonable and would put unjustified additional pressure on members’ premiums.

HBF had tried for months to reach agreement with the Ramsay Group and was deeply disappointed that the company had refused to enter into a new contract with HBF.

Mr Bransby said that he was deeply concerned at the impact on a relatively small number of HBF members.

“We’re doing everything in our power to make sure that Ramsay’s decision to end its agreement has minimal impact on our members being treated in Ramsay hospitals.

“Even though we are no longer bound by a contract, HBF is going to extend a period of grace so members booked for treatment in Ramsay hospitals aren’t unfairly hit with higher out of pocket expenses.”

Mr Bransby said that HBF had successfully completed negotiations with all other major hospital groups and had offered Ramsay Health Care a fair and equitable price for the services provided.

“As a not-for-profit fund HBF has a responsibility to keep increases in members’ premiums to a minimum.”  Mr Bransby said.

“Hospital benefit negotiations are the biggest influencer of premiums – accommodation benefits paid to hospitals represent hundreds of millions of dollars in overall impact.  So increases in hospital fees and benefits have a direct impact on the premiums we must charge our members.” 

The eastern states-based company operates Hollywood, Joondalup, Attadale and Glengarry private hospitals and has advised that it will end its participating hospital agreement with HBF from today.  

Ramsay’s decision came after HBF declined Ramsay’s request for an increase in the fees its hospitals would charge HBF members.

“As an eastern states-based company listed on the stock market, Ramsay obviously wants to maximise profits and dividends to shareholders.  But we don’t accept that this should be at the expense of HBF members in WA being forced to pay higher premiums” Mr Bransby said.

“The price that Ramsay has requested is clearly unreasonable when compared to other major private hospitals - all of whom have agreements with HBF and who operate under similar cost pressures to Ramsay.”   

Mr Bransby said that HBF members should be assured that HBF was ready to come to an agreement with Ramsay Health Care but would only agree to terms that were fair and did not result in unreasonable pressures on members’ premiums.

HBF has set up an information hotline for members. HBF members seeking more information should call 1300 723 719.

Media contact: Andrew Walton, tel 0438 925 050

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