COVID-19 payments to members

HBF is delivering on a promise we made to our members and is returning $42 million to those who held Hospital and/or Extras cover between 25 March 2020 and 30 June 2020.

In a year when affordable health care became more important than ever, HBF made a commitment to our members that we would not benefit financially from the COVID-19 pandemic.

We promised that if HBF recorded any extra profits as a result of members not being able to use their health cover due to the temporary suspension of non-urgent hospital and ancillary treatment, this money would be returned to them.

COVID-19 payment FAQs

Why are you returning money to members?

HBF is following through with its commitment that it would not financially benefit from the COVID-19 pandemic. In its accounts for the financial year ended 30 June 2020, HBF estimated a deferred claims provision totalling $94.3 million relating to elective surgery procedures and ancillary services members could not access while COVID-19 control measures were in place but were expected to be claimed at a later date.

Since June 2020, HBF has experienced an increase in claims and utilised some of the deferred claims provision. Of the $94.3 million deferred claims provision, $42million remains unclaimed. HBF will therefore be returning this amount to eligible current and former HBF policyholders holding a Hospital and/or Extras policy during 25 March 2020 – 30 June 2020.

How much money will I receive?

HBF will be making a payment of between $20 and $140 per eligible policy. The amount depends on the membership type (e.g. single, couple, or family), and the type of cover (Hospital and/or Extras) you held between 25 March 2020 and 30 June 2020.

If I’m eligible to receive a payment, how will I receive the funds?

Current HBF health policyholder: if we have your up-to-date bank account details, you’ll receive a direct credit into your bank account.

All other eligible HBF members and former policyholders: will receive their payments via a cheque mailed to the postal address HBF holds.

I have received a COVID payment from HBF. Why wasn’t I notified about this in advance?

We want to be sure that the direct credit payment has gone through to the members successfully before we notify the members. Failed transactions take up to 4 days to be reported to us by the bank. If we had notified you in advance, and the transaction didn’t go through successfully, we would’ve had to send you a separate notification accompanying a cheque. We want to be sure that each eligible member only receives one payment with one communication.

Am I eligible to receive the payment?

Current and former HBF policyholders who held a Hospital and/or Extras policy between 25 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 and were eligible to receive benefits will get this payment.

When will I get the payment?

HBF will make payments to eligible current and former policyholders in July 2021 through to August 2021.

If we’re making a direct credit payment into your bank account, we’ll notify you via email or letter to confirm that we have made the deposit.

If we’re mailing a cheque to you, we’ll also send you a letter together with the cheque.

Why are you considering that period between 25 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 only?

HBF is currently only considering the period between 25 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 as this is when the Government suspended all non-urgent Hospital and Extras treatment across all States and Territories meaning members were unable to access non-urgent services. We recognise that the impact of COVID-19 has been different for each State or Territory.

I live outside of WA and access to services was restricted even after 30 June, why am I not getting a payment to cover the whole-time access to services was restricted?

We recognise that the impact of COVID-19 has been different for each State or Territory. HBF is currently only considering the period between 25 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 as this is when the Government suspended all non-urgent Hospital and Extras treatment across all States and Territories meaning members were unable to access non-urgent services.

How was the payment for my policy calculated?

In its accounts for the financial year ended 30 June 2020, HBF estimated a deferred claims provision totalling $94.3m relating to Hospital and Extras services members could not access while COVID-19 control measures were in place but were expected to be claimed at a later date.

While claims have now normalised, not all claims we originally expected to come later have materialised and HBF has a balance of $42m that it will be returning to almost half a million current and former members who held cover between 25 March 2020 and 30 June 2020.

To calculate the amount payable to each eligible policy HBF considered the following:

  • the total amount to be disbursed,
  • the total number of policies eligible to receive a payment,
  • membership type on each policy (i.e. single, couple, or family), and
  • the type of cover (i.e. Hospital and/or Extras) held on each policy.

Based on the considerations noted above, HBF will be making a payment of between $20 (for a single person with Extras only cover), and $140 per policy (for a couple or family with both Hospital and Extras cover).

I have top level Hospital and Extras cover; do I get more money back?

No. The level of cover held is not a factor we used in determining the amount payable to each individual policy. The amount you will receive depends on your membership type (e.g. single, couple, or family), and the type of cover (Hospital and/or Extras) you held between 25 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 only.

Will this payment affect my health insurance rebate or taxable income?

This payment is in lieu of health insurance benefits that members could have claimed; it is not a refund of health insurance premiums that members paid, so it does not change the health insurance premium that you can claim a rebate on.

As this payment is in lieu of health insurance benefits that members could have claimed, it is not taxable income.

If you need advice on filling out your tax statement, we encourage you to talk to your tax agent.

Can my money just be put against my health insurance premium as a payment, or be donated to my nominated charity?

No, HBF will send your payment via direct credit or cheque. You can then use the money how you like, including paying your health insurance premiums or donating it if you wish.

Will I get a payment if I used some Hospital or Extras services between 25 March 2020 and 30 June 2020?

Yes, eligible current and former HBF policyholders will receive a payment even if they used Hospital and/or Extras services between 25 March 2020 and 30 June 2020.

My premiums have gone up this year, why couldn’t you use this money to just keep them the same?

Premium increases are to ensure we can pay future claims. This year’s premium increase covers claims for the period starting 1 April 2021.

The payment that we will be making comes from our members' inability to access non-urgent Hospital and Extras services between 25 March 2020 and 30 June 2020. The payment is for claims that HBF members would have made specifically during the impacted period – HBF expected these claims would be made at a later date and provisioned $94.3m to cover the deferred claims. To date, not all claims HBF provisioned for have materialised, resulting in a surplus of $42m which we are distributing to eligible current and former members who held health cover between 25 March 2020 and 30 June 2020.

Will each person on the policy receive a payment?

No. We will send one payment to the policyholder covering all those members on the policy.