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HBF 2019 annual results – fund primed to relieve pressure on member premiums

Andrew Walton
2 minutes

A sharpened focus on fraudulent claims, more competitive contracting with healthcare providers, product refinements and strong investment returns have helped HBF report a net surplus of $93.7 million in 2018/19.

HBF CEO John Van Der Wielen said the healthy surplus has HBF well-positioned to tackle the number one concern of many members, “We must make health insurance more affordable – and our performance this year will allow us to do that.”

Over the past two years HBF has had the lowest average premium increase of the nation’s five major health insurers. This year’s average increase of 1.94 per cent was the lowest, by far, of the majors and was well below the industry average of 3.25 per cent.

“We can promise our members another very competitive rate next year,” Mr Van Der Wielen said.

A priority for HBF’s Business Integrity division this year has been the review and improvement of internal processes to ensure HBF only pays benefits on legitimate claims, and to identify and take appropriate action in cases of fraudulent claiming.

The division’s efforts this year resulted in $20 million in fraud and overcharging recoveries. 18 criminal prosecutions were completed during the year.

Addressing the disparity in fees charged by hospitals to health insurers has also been a high priority.

“We continue to work hard to negotiate more competitive rates with the major hospital groups, which will help keep member premium increases as low as possible,” Mr Van Der Wielen said.

Federal Government reforms to private health insurance, including this year’s introduction of Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic categories of cover, provided an opportunity for HBF to review its health insurance products. Changes to products were made to ensure products remained sustainable, to comply with the reforms and to help keep future premium increases for all HBF members to a minimum. Work continues to ensure all HBF products are reform-compliant by April 2020.

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