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About HBF

HBF keeps premium increase to minimum but warns of impact of Government policy

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HBF has announced its average premium increase in 2013 will be 3.75% – significantly lower than the industry average increase of 5.6% announced by Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek today. (Full list of funds’ increases below)

HBF Managing Director, Rob Bransby, said the fund had worked hard to keep its premium increase to a minimum.

"As a not-for-profit health fund, we don’t need to factor in a profit for shareholders – the only reason we increase our premiums is so we can continue to meet the costs of the treatments our members need," Mr Bransby said.

Last year for the first time in its 72 year history, HBF paid over a billion dollars in health benefits to members, and expects this to rise by more than 8% this year. 

Mr Bransby warned that irrespective of the premium increases announced by health funds today, all fund members faced higher health insurance costs in the future under the Federal Government’s plans to cut the Private Health Insurance Rebate.

"Even before the impact of last year’s means test on the rebate is known the Government is embarking on more changes that will inevitably hurt health fund members," Mr Bransby said.

Mr Bransby warned the move to remove the rebate from Lifetime Health Cover loading targeted health fund members who already paid the highest premiums and would particularly hurt older members on low incomes.

He said another proposed change – capping the increase in the rebate – would mean members’ rebates would not keep pace with increases in health fund premiums in future years.

"It really does feel like members are watching their rebate suffer death by a thousand cuts," Mr Bransby said. He called on health fund members to instruct their Federal MPs to vote against the measures in Parliament.  

The latest changes in premiums for all health funds take effect from 1 April 2013.  HBF will be writing to all members in the next few weeks to advise them of their individual premiums.

For further information 
Andrew Walton
Group Public Affairs Manager 
08-9265-6181  / 0438-925-050 
Andrew.walton@hbf.com.au

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