HBF: 'The first and only major health fund' to scrap increase

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HBF says most Australians with private health insurance will have experienced a premium increase on 1 October - but not its members.

The Perth-based insurer said it is "the first and only major health fund" to have cancelled its approved 2020 premium increase for every member.

It said the decision to scrap the increase, which was "unanimously endorsed" by its board in March, will save an average of $75 per HBF policy - a total of $37 million.

HBF said that, in addition to scrapping the premium increase, it has implemented a range of hardship measures, including allowing members to apply for up to nine months’ premium relief or suspend their cover without penalty.

CEO John Van Der Wielen said he was proud of the insurer's response to the greatest health and financial crisis in a generation.

“These are extraordinary times and access to healthcare is more important than ever. HBF’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the benefits of being with a not-for-profit health fund that puts its members first, not shareholders,” said Mr Van Der Wielen.

“Our customer loyalty has increased over recent months, which is evidence of the genuine relief and certainty we’ve provided our members through the measures we’ve implemented.

“Not only have we been able to support our members when they’ve needed it the most, we have also focused on finding new ways to give back to the community in these uncertain times.”