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Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about premium changes
Each year, the Federal Minister for Health reviews and approves changes to private health insurance premiums for all private health insurers, which generally take effect from 1 April each year.
If you’re an HCi member, and your premiums are changing, you’ll receive personalised information* from us about how you’re affected, before the changes take place.
We’ve developed these FAQs to help you understand why premiums change and how this may affect you. However, if you have any additional questions, or want to discuss making changes to your HCi policy, please contact us – we’re here to help and can provide personalised support to ensure you get the right cover and the right support when using it.
Why do premiums change?
The Federal Government requires private health insurers to ensure they have sufficient capital and income to pay members’ claims in the next year. Applications for premium change are examined by the Department of Health (DoH) and by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and must be approved in advance by the Federal Minister for Health each year.
The amount needed to cover health costs has continued to climb in recent years due to a number of factors, including:
- increasing costs of private hospital treatment, and of services provided by various health professionals, such as doctors,
- increases in the number of services claimed against insurers,
- costs related to the introduction of new medical technology and equipment,
- member expectations and experience (eg seeking better quality medical care, more regular or thorough medical testing), and
- rising costs related to health issues and treatments for an aging population.
Other factors that may impact your premium include changes to the Australian Government Rebate on private health insurance and the application of the Lifetime Health Cover Loading (LHC).
Why is my premium change different to HCi’s headline average change?
Premium increases vary between policies based on the type of cover, how many people are covered on a policy and in which state or territory the policy is purchased. The figure quoted by the Department of Health as HCi’s average premium change (in any given year) is an average of all policies, so it may be different to any change applied to your policy.
How does HCi’s average premium change compare to other health funds?
A breakdown of the premium changes by each private health insurer in Australia can be viewed on the Government’s Health site.
In 2023, HCi was one of only two health insurers in Australia to not increase premiums for members at all! Whilst in 2022, HCi had the lowest average premium increase of all health funds in Australia – and our lowest increase in more than 20 years!
Does HCi profit directly from premium increases?
No, absolutely not – HCi is a member-owned, not-for-profit health fund.
That means we do not pay dividends to shareholders or distribute profits like for-profit health funds. HCi uses any net surpluses directly to benefit members, whether they are used to offset excess claims, increase benefits payable, or reduce pressure on future premium changes and operating costs.
I haven’t received my premium change notification. How do I get it?
Your premium change notification will be sent to you by email (or by mail if we don’t have your email address*), usually in March each year.
If you haven’t received yours, please contact us. Then, we’ll happily provide you with a copy of the notice, or talk you through any changes to your individual policy and your options for change, if necessary.
Why should I stay with HCi?
We’ve been here for the long haul – since 1938 in fact. So we have the knowledge and experience to provide our members with choice in and access to high quality healthcare when they need it most. We provide HCi members with personalised service and access to a range of cover products and options, as well as additional health programs to make the most of your membership.
How do I switch to HCi from another fund?
We make it really easy for you to switch! Simply join online – it only takes a few moments – and complete the section about transferring when prompted. We’ll contact your old fund, and take care of the transfer for you – no switching forms to fill in, no paperwork, easy!
* If we have your email address, we can send you news and information more quickly. It also costs us less so we can keep our premiums as low as possible. You can give us your email address by calling us, using our policy changes form or logging into OMS.
HCi used its best endeavours to ensure this information was accurate at the time of publication. From time to time, circumstances relating to the subject matter may change which may impact the accuracy of the information. This information is also general in nature and does not take into account any specific health or financial situation. Before making any decisions in relation to this information, you should consider your own financial and health situation and seek professional advice. Health Care Insurance Ltd ABN 43 009 579 088. A Registered Private Health Insurer.