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HBF to make product changes to relieve pressure on premiums

HBF will make changes to some basic and mid-range hospital insurance products from 1 July 2018, bringing its products in line with other major funds and helping ensure it can keep future premium increases to a minimum.

Author Andrew Walton
Time to read 3 minutes

Under the changes some services, including surgical weight loss procedures, sterility reversals, cochlear implants, dialysis and insulin pumps will be removed from entry and mid-range products. Psychiatric benefits paid on some mid-range products will be reduced. Additionally, some members will pay a higher excess when claiming in hospital.

Explaining the changes, HBF CEO, John Van Der Wielen, said that HBF was one of the last of the large funds to pay benefits for certain services on basic and mid-range products and that these changes brought HBF back into line with other insurers.

“These aren’t changes we make lightly but we know affordability is a major concern for members and that we must do all we can to keep premium increases to a minimum,” Mr Van Der Wielen said.

Mr Van Der Wielen said that currently some basic and mid-range HBF products cover services that most funds only include on higher levels of cover. As a result HBF is attracting a disproportionate number of members claiming on services like bariatric surgery.

“One option is to increase the price of the products – which would impact every member who has this type of product.

“We believe it’s fairer to ask those members who need to claim for certain services to move to a level of cover that reflects the cost of the claims they make,” Mr Van Der Wielen said.

Mr Van Der Wielen said that there was no intention to exclude services members could claim for but that some members would need to upgrade to a higher level of cover for some services.

Mr Van Der Wielen said that HBF was writing to members impacted from next week, explaining the detail of the changes.

Until 1 September, impacted members who choose to upgrade to retain certain services will be able to do so without serving any waiting period.

Mr Van Der Wielen said that members with treatments booked before 1 May or who had a valid written quote from HBF wouldn’t be impacted for these treatments. Members undertaking a course of treatment when the changes take effect wouldn’t be impacted unless the course of treatment continued beyond 31 December 2018.

Media enquiries: Lauren Underhill/Jodi Eastman 0438 925 050 / CorporateAffairs@hbf.com.au

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