Your 2017 Premium Increase.

It’s almost that time when all Australian health funds have to raise premiums to account for the rising cost of health care. You’ll no doubt hear a lot about rate-rise percentages, industry averages and ‘weighted average increases’. It can be very confusing!

Of course, it's tempting to compare funds purely based on their published weighted average rate rise in a given year; however, to accurately review or compare your cover, it’s important to look at the details of your specific policy. 

If you have any queries or concerns about the upcoming increase on April 1, please don't hesitate to get in touch. In the meantime, read on to find out more.

Quick links:  FAQs  |  Industry Comparison  |  How Premiums are Allocated

 HIF Premium Increase 2017

Here's everything you need to know about this year's premium increase.

As a not-for-profit health fund, our members are our number one priority. That's why any profit we make goes straight back into providing better benefits and services for you. HIF also has one of the best claim-to-premium ratios in the industry and recently received five Canstar industry awards for Outstanding Value. That’s why we're confident that, come April, HIF will remain among the most competitive, best-value health funds in Australia. 

Important points to consider when reviewing your new post-April premium:

  • Don’t focus solely on the percentages: It doesn’t tell you how much your individual policy has increased by. The weighted industry average (the percentage you’ll see in comparison tables) is just that – an average.
  • Focus on value for money: If you plan to compare your HIF cover with other funds, consider all the really important factors - benefits, annual limits, excesses and customer care.
  • Consider past performance: If you want to compare different health funds’ rate rises, add up the last 5 to 10 years’ worth of rate rises – this will give a clearer idea of who’s most competitive. Don’t forget other important figures. It isn’t always easy to compare like-for-like covers – many similar covers differ in various ways – but focus on the actual price of similar covers, not the rate rise, versus what you’ll get back when you need it. 
  • Look at claim-to-premium levels: What percentage of premiums does a health fund pay back to its members in benefits? This one is very important. It tells you a lot, not only about value for money, but also about the priority of the health fund - you. For example, did you know that in 2015/16, HIF paid back in benefits 94.89% of the premiums we received? See the graph below for more details on how your premiums are used.

Want to avoid this year's premium increase?

If you want to save money and delay when you have to start paying the new premiums, you can! All you have to do is pre-pay your premiums before 1 April – and you can pre-pay up to 12 months in advance. To pre-pay your premiums, login to your online Member Centre or call us Monday to Friday on 1300 13 40 60. And remember, when you pay on an annual basis, you'll automatically get a bonus 4% discount (or 2% for half-yearly payments).

Frequently Asked Questions.

Why do premiums go up each year?
Each year on April 1, the health insurance industry (all funds inclusive) raises premium rates on existing products. A number of factors lead to these increases - rising health related expenses, increased doctor charges, medical equipment and technology, increases in claims frequency, and more.

Why are health costs rising more than the Consumer Price Index (CPI)?
The annual health insurance premium increase reflects the rising cost of healthcare overall. The Consumer Price Index only reflects price increases for a pre-defined range of goods including food and clothing, and is currently held down by the falling oil/petrol prices.  As CPI does not reflect an increase in private healthcare usage, it simply can’t be compared to a health insurance premium increase.

Why is my premium increasing by more than HIF's average percentage?
The average percentage increase is an averaged across all policies, states and territories, but each product is priced individually depending on the increasing health care costs associated with that product in each state or territory. For that reason, some of our premium increases are less than the average while others are more – depending on the costs associated with the particular product or location. It's important to note that this year’s adjustment to the Federal Government Rebate will also result in a reduction of the discount you receive off the price of your policy by the Government. The erosion of the rebate is driven by the Government and is not a decision implemented by HIF. It’s also important to note that the rebate does not apply to any Lifetime Health Cover Loading (LHC), effective from 1/07/2013.

How will the premium increase affect me if I’ve paid my contributions in advance?
If you pay your premiums prior to 1 April, you will enjoy rate protection for that time, including other changes that may impact your premium after April 1 such as the reduction of the Federal Government Rebate. That means that you will pay your premiums at the current rate for the duration of that upfront payment, which can be 12 months worth of premiums, 6 months, 3 months, 1 month or one fortnight.  If you do choose to make an upfront payment of 12 months, you will also receive an additional bonus discount of 4% (or 2% for six monthly payments).

Does HIF profit directly from premium increases?
No. Unlike some of our competitors, HIF is a member-owned, not-for-profit company. This means that the company has no shareholders to report or distribute profit to.  Any net operating margin that is earned as a result of this rate rise will be directly added to the fund’s reserves to ensure the future payment of claims and reduce pressure on any future premium increases. The Board of HIF, whose role is to represent the best interests of members, would not be acting responsibility if rates were not increased at this time

I’m an HIF member. By how much will my standard contribution increase and when are the new rates effective from?
The exact details of how the premium increase will affect you personally will be communicated to you in writing prior to April 1.

I’m currently with another fund but I’d like to switch to HIF. What do I need to do?
Switching to HIF is easy as. Simply call us on 1300 13 40 60 or join online (it only takes a few minutes). During the online application process, we’ll ask for the name of your current fund, your previous member number and your authorisation to contact your previous fund on your behalf - then we do everything else! No forms to fill in, no paperwork, nothing. We’ll also honour your previous length of membership, meaning that you receive the highest benefits applicable to your new level of cover, and you don’t have to re-serve any unnecessary waiting periods.

Why Private Health Insurance is a Good Thing.

It can be easy to forget the basic benefits of your HIF private health insurance so here's a quick reminder about what your cover enables you:

  • Get treated sooner: You don’t have to worry about being placed in a queue on the public hospitals waiting list. 
  • Choose who treats you, and where: You can choose your own doctor and hospital. 
  • Improve your personal (and financial) wellbeing: You can claim benefits for services that Medicare doesn’t cover, like dental and physio, which can have a big impact on your health (and bank balance).

What sets our cover apart?
At HIF, we’re big enough to provide affordable health cover options that offer more choice and generous benefits, but small enough to make it personal, which means you also get: 

  • Great value health cover: As a not-for-profit fund, we’re 100% focused on minimising our operating costs and maximising benefits, services and value for our members. 
  • Your choice: No ‘preferred (contracted) providers’ for Extras here. We believe you should be able to choose any healthcare provider you want, wherever you want without being disadvantaged. 
  • Knowledgeable, personal support: Whether it’s a minor dental treatment or major surgery, we’re here for you. Call 1300 13 40 60 or email us at – we’re always here to help. You can also visit our handy online knowledge base, Ask HIF - it’s packed full of useful info.
Elective Surgery Waiting Times for Patients Without Private Hospital Cover

If you have HIF Hospital cover, you’ve made a wise choice. Not only do you get to choose your doctor and hospital, you also avoid being placed on the public hospital waiting list queue for elective surgery. This can be long and can significantly impact your quality of life.

Here’s a snapshot of the number of  days people have waited for surgery:

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