A small but growing Perth-based health insurance fund believes the market dominance of HBF is an unnatural position that can't last in an increasingly competitive market.
HIF Executive Manager Business Development, Anne Humphrey told Business News that Western Australia was one of only two states, with South Australia, in which a single health insurance fund held more than 50% of the market. HBF holds 55.3 per cent market share in WA, while Bupa holds 51.8 per cent market share in SA.
Ms Humphrey said major national and international players Medibank Private and BUPA, which currently had about 20 per cent and 10 per cent WA market share respectively,were almost certainly looking at ways to increase that share.
"Other health insurers have only really become serious in the WA market in the last few years," Ms Humphrey said.
" I think Western Australians have become a little less parochial and we've certainly become part of a global market.
"You've got the major players coming in here after HBF's market share. HBF has gone from around 80 per cent down to 55 per cent and it's continuing to become even more competitive."
Ms Humphrey said HIF had grown its national membership by about 26 per cent last year, including 8 per cent growth in WA.
The not-for-profit HIF is currently the fourth-largest health insurance fund in WA, with 4.1 per cent market share.
Ms Humphrey said the business had a strong focus on keeping costs down, which included automating online processes and not having bricks and mortar shop fronts.
"For the past two years, we've had the lowest premium increase of all the health funds available to the general public," she said.
Media contact: Donna Cole, LastSay Communications, 0419 901 229.