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About HBF

Members Own FAQ's

Australians have a choice when it comes to investing in their most important asset – their health.

They can choose a health insurer that treats people as numbers…… one that puts profit before people and shareholder return before member wellbeing.

Or, as over 2.5 million Australians have done, they can choose one of 15 not-for-profit or mutual Australian health funds that treat them as a member, not a profit centre.

These funds have come together as Members Own Health Funds (or Members Own) to inform Australians of the benefits of being with a fund that is for people, not profit.

What is Members Own Health Funds?

Members Own Health Funds Limited is a new entity created under an agreement between 15 not-for-profit and mutual Australian health funds.

Members Own Health Funds has been created to ensure not-for-profit and mutual health funds are able to communicate the advantages they provide over their for-profit counterparts.

What is the Members Own difference?
  • With Members Own funds you’re a member, not a number or profit centre.
  • Members Own funds are run to benefit members – not shareholders or overseas owners. 
  • Members Own funds are focused on giving more back and doing more for their members.
  • Members Own funds deliver better service, have higher member satisfaction and loyalty and receive fewer complaints than for profit or overseas owned funds.
Why has Members Own Health Funds been created now?

For generations, health insurance in Australia was provided by not-for-profit and mutual funds run for the benefit of their members. During the last ten years the landscape has dramatically changed as not-for-profit and mutual funds have been taken over by large for-profit funds while others have demutualised to become listed entities.

More than half of the private health insurance sector is now dominated by a listed company (Medibank Private) driven by shareholder return and an overseas based multinational (BUPA) that sends profits back to its overseas owners.  Australians need to know there is an alternative.

What does Members Own Health Funds stand for?

Members Own Health Funds is underpinned by the belief that we are here for members and their wellbeing.  We simply don’t believe that maximising shareholder returns or profits is an appropriate philosophy to apply to people’s health needs. 

Members Own funds aren’t driven by the pressure to generate shareholder returns or the need to send profits to off shore owners. 

By coming together we can create a stronger market presence for Australia’s not-for-profit and mutual health funds. 

Our public awareness campaign will make sure people know they have a choice.

Is Members Own Health Funds based on Industry Super Funds?

There are parallels between Industry Super Funds and Members Own Health Funds and we’ve certainly looked carefully at the success of Industry Super Funds in developing this public awareness campaign.

Just as Industry Funds are run to benefit members, so too are Members Own health funds.

Which funds are Members Own Health Funds members?
  • ACA Health
  • Australian Unity Health
  • Defence Health
  • GMHBA
  • HBF
  • Health Partners
  • Latrobe Health Services
  • Navy Health
  • Peoplecare Health Insurance
  • Phoenix Health Fund
  • Police Health
  • rt Health
  • St Lukes Health
  • Teachers Heath Fund
  • Teachers Union Heath
How is Members Own Health Funds operated?

Members Own Health Funds is a public company limited by guarantee and governed by a board of Directors who are executives of 7 of the member funds. The activities of Members Own Health Funds are funded by subscriptions of the members. All members have equal rights.  

What hard evidence can you point to back up your claims?

The annual State of the Health Funds Report issued by the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman shows that over the past 5 years Members Own funds have collectively had significantly lower rates of member complaints to the Ombudsman than Medibank, BUPA and nib collectively.

The same reports show that over the past 5 years on average Members Own funds returned a higher proportion of their member contributions to their members than Medibank, BUPA and nib.

The reports show members of Members Own funds are more satisfied and have stronger loyalty than members of Medibank, BUPA and nib.

Who are you talking to - your own members or members of for-profit funds?

Both. We want our more than 2.5 million members to know that their fund delivers the best possible member experience. But we also want to challenge members of other funds to think hard about their fund’s priorities and their own experience as a member of that fund.  We also want to talk to people who don’t currently have private health insurance.

So what can we expect to see?

You’ll see a public awareness campaign designed to challenge the health insurance status quo and make more Australians aware that they have a choice beyond funds run to benefit shareholders or overseas owners. 

From February 2015 our 15 member funds will be using the Members Own Health Fund symbol in their communications.

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