Westfund to return more to members in extension of 'Community Support Package'

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Westfund Health Insurance has announced it will return $5.1 million to eligible members in an extension of its COVID-19 'Community Support Package'.

Westfund said its community support package is designed to assist the health and financial needs of its members during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

It said it has so far invested $12 million in the its Community Support Package.

The company previously delayed premium increases for six months from 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2020 (saving members $6 million), expanded its range of health and wellbeing programs targeting mental health and virtual telehealth consultations, and supported over 750 members via its COVID-19 Financial Hardship Suspension program. This represented $700,000 in premium waivers. 

CEO Mark Genovese said, “We want to recognise the difficulties faced by our members over the past 18 months.

“We are fortunate to be in a strong financial position because of our members’ continued support. It’s only right that we now support our members through this very challenging time.”

The company said details of the program are still being finalised. However, it has indicated around 52,000 memberships will be eligible.

"The payment will vary according to the level of cover for each membership, resulting in an average payment per policy of $98 and a maximum payment of $220. Funds will be paid directly back to eligible Westfund memberships towards the end of 2021," it said.

“This will be the third time in eight years we've given money back to our members. That’s the difference with Westfund. As a member-owned, not-for-profit health fund we get to give more back to our members and not shareholders – whether that is by returning funds to members, increasing benefits that we know our members use or expanding access to health services no matter where our members live.

“We’re committed to supporting our members every step of the way on our path out of this pandemic,” added Mr Genovese.