Every year, like all Australian insurers, we review our premiums to ensure we can continue to cover the rising cost and increase in demand for quality healthcare.
As a proudly not-for-profit health fund, we do all we can to avoid increasing our premiums any more than is absolutely necessary.
We are pleased to announce that our 2023 premium increase – which will take effect on 1 April – is not just lower than last year, it’s our lowest in nine years.
Around 14.4 million Australians have private health insurance and access more than $22 billion in health and medical benefits each year. We want to make sure those who have trusted their health with HIF see the value in it.
We continue to listen to our members and product changes we have implemented this year reflect that.
We recognise the definition of a family has changed and we have not been as inclusive as we could have been. According to the 2021 Census, there are more than one million one-parent families in Australia. It’s why we have made a commitment to supporting single parent families by not increasing premiums on their Hospital cover and will continue to review pricing.
As part of our commitment to providing choice and access to members and ensuring the continuity of cover for younger Australians, we have also increased the age limit for student dependants from 25 to 311. This means, if a member has a dependant who is a full-time student under the age of 31, they can remain on the family’s policy for longer.
Evidence shows newer oral contraceptives have been effectively prescribed for their non-contraceptive benefits such as treating acne, heavy menstrual bleeding associated with endometriosis, alleviating perimenstrual dysphoric symptoms and dysmenorrhoea. We’ve listened to our members and will now pay benefits on contraceptives if prescribed for a medical condition (not just acne) for members with Extras cover for Pharmacy2.
And because we care about our members’ mental health and understand that finding the right path to treatment can often seem overwhelming, we are continuing to offer Mental Health Navigator at no extra charge for all HIF members who are 18 years or over - no matter their level of cover.
As proudly not-for-profit, our members are at the forefront of everything we do. We were the first health fund to recognise same-sex couples and non-binary titles, the first health fund to actively and publicly promote and fund research for medicinal cannabis and the first health fund to be declared carbon neutral. More recently, we opened the door to emerging therapies and exploring the potential they have in treating chronic mental health conditions.
And we are there for our members in an emergency, offering support during natural disasters and of course the global pandemic. Last year, once again, we kept our word that we would not profit from the pandemic by giving back $3 million in COVID-19 claims savings just before Christmas.
We recognise some private health insurance providers are deferring the rise to later in the year, while others may be offering cashbacks or other benefits.
Delaying doesn’t mean avoiding an increase. Regardless of when it happens, a member will likely be impacted by a rate increase in Australia if they hold private health insurance.
HIF has thousands of members who pay annually at the end of March each year to rate protect. To change the dates every year by delaying would have a detrimental impact on these members.
As the cost-of-living increases, so too does the cost of healthcare. This in turn puts pressure on premiums.
Increased demand for mental health services, elective surgery blow out due to increased wait times in public hospitals along with the inflated price of medical devices compared to other countries such as New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France and South Africa all contribute to these costs.
We will continue to campaign to bring these costs down and reinforce the value of private health insurance.
We know public wait lists have increased since the pandemic and due to staff shortages. High demand procedures can have a wait list of up to 200-300 days just for the surgery – and this doesn’t include the ‘hidden wait list’ between seeing a GP and a specialist after being referred. Medicare also doesn’t usually cover out-of-hospital care like dental treatment and remedial massage – things that are covered under private health insurance Extras policies.
Having private health insurance can help you be seen quicker and have greater choice and access to treatment options. Choice and access for members. More affordable care and products. It’s our commitment for 2023 and beyond.
CEO, HIF Australia
HIF members will be advised of changes to their individual premium rates from Monday, 27 February. For more information visit hif.com.au/premiums.
1 Eligible student dependants can remain covered under a family policy until their 31st birthday if they are between 21 and 31 years of age, are registered as a full-time student at a recognised educational institution and are not married or living in a defacto relationship.
2 Effective from 28/02/2023. For members on eligible Extras products with cover for Pharmacy (non-PBS) Drugs. Benefits payable up to available limits. Waiting periods apply. The claim must be accompanied with a letter from the treating medical practitioner to state the medical condition for which the medication is being prescribed for. Oral contraceptives are excluded where prescribed for the purpose of contraception only.