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HBF the only major health fund to keep its premiums frozen for all members

From 1 October 2020, most Australians with private health insurance will need to find additional money to retain their cover as premium increases come into effect.

Lauren Underhill
3 minutes

From 1 October 2020, most Australians with private health insurance will need to find additional money to retain their cover as premium increases come into effect.

That is not the case for HBF members, with HBF the first and only major health fund to have cancelled its 2020 premium increase for every single member.

The decision to freeze members’ premiums from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2021 was unanimously endorsed by HBF’s Board in March 2020, in line with the fund’s ethos as a not-for-profit health insurer focused on providing certainty and support for its members during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In contrast, most private health insurers are increasing their premiums from 1 October 2020 after postponing their planned increases for six months.

HBF’s 2020 premium freeze has saved an average of $75 per HBF policy, equating to a total cost to HBF of $37 million. In addition, HBF has implemented a range of hardship measures, including allowing members to apply for up to nine months’ premium relief or suspend their cover without penalty. HBF’s actions have been recognised by CHOICE as the clear market leader.

HBF Chief Executive Officer John Van Der Wielen said he was proud of HBF’s response to the greatest health and financial crisis in a generation that has centred on providing genuine support to members and keeping health cover as affordable as possible.

“These are extraordinary times and access to healthcare is more important than ever. HBF’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the benefits of being with a not-for-profit health fund that puts its members first, not shareholders,” Mr Van Der Wielen said.

“Our customer loyalty has increased over recent months, which is evidence of the genuine relief and certainty we’ve provided our members through the measures we’ve implemented.

“Not only have we been able to support our members when they’ve needed it the most, we have also focused on finding new ways to give back to the community in these uncertain times.”

HBF’s COVID-19 support measures:

  • Hardship support measures for members, including a Hardship Waiver, Health Cover Protection (HCP) provisions and the opportunity to re-apportion accrued GapSaver entitlements to help pay their premiums. More than 15,000 of HBF’s one million members have taken advantage of these measures, which are in place until end of December 2020
  • Temporary benefits for some allied health treatments delivered via telehealth: Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Dietetics – also in place until end of December 2020
  • Donated $575,000 to 170 WA charities which had hoped to benefit from the cancelled HBF Run for a Reason – including a $100,000 donation to Lifeline
  • Donated $190,000 to assist Foodbank WA, The Salvation Army, Anglicare WA and Silver Chain to respond to community need
  • Donated 10 laptops to the Royal Flying Doctor Service
  • Donated 2,750 face masks to Silver Chain and the Department of Health
  • $2.5 million to fund the WA Government’s DETECT Snapshot program, for research and increased testing of frontline employees across a range of industries
  • Paid for a record number of fully covered vaccinations for members even before winter started. More than 55,000 of HBF’s WA members have received a fully covered flu shot at Pharmacy 777 so far this year, compared to 35,000 vaccinations for the whole flu season in 2019.

For more detail on HBF’s 2020 premium increase cancellation, please visit our Health Insurance Premium Increase FAQs.

Contact: Lauren Underhill, HBF Corporate Affairs, CorporateAffairs@hbf.com.au / 0438 925 050

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