Are you tired of private health insurers telling you they’re there for you, only to find they’re actually there for their shareholders? Or that they understand the healthcare worries of older Australians, but charge you increasing premiums for coverage you don’t want or need?
If so, you’re just like Peter Atack, who realised that being a member of one of the largest, stockmarket-listed health insurers just wasn’t paying off for him and wife Margaret anymore. “We were with one of the big companies but didn’t feel we were getting any benefit from being with a big company,” Peter says.
Aussies aged 60-plus are much more likely to say that health insurance is essential than younger age groups, with eight in 10 agreeing that ‘health insurance is about knowing you’ll be able to cover the cost of big medical expenses’ – so they’re the insurers’ biggest customer group. And 60-pluses are also much more likely to claim on their cover for hospital treatment – making them the key group when it comes to the customer service an insurer offers when the chips really are down.
Yet, like Peter, some feel let down by the cover and services on offer. “We felt that loyalty didn’t have any value anymore,” Peter says of his long-time insurance provider.
So, in 2014, the 68-year-old from Western Australia switched to the Health Insurance Fund of Australia (HIF), a smaller, not-for-profit health fund that has a real focus on over-60s’ needs, and quickly saw the benefits.
“The cover was good and that’s been proven with some of the claims we’ve had,” Peter explains. “One of my first claims was for a new pair of glasses and sunglasses and the optician actually double-checked the rebate because she thought the amount I was getting back was too high!”
HIF is very different to some of the large companies that dominate Australia’s private health insurance market. For starters, its member service team is based in Australia, and it has been around much longer than most, having launched 65 years ago in Perth.
Secondly, HIF is a not-for-profit insurer, which means it has members, not shareholders. This means HIF can keep a tight lid on premiums because it doesn’t have to provide investors with returns; and any profit HIF does make can be ploughed back into providing better coverage and services to its members.
And perhaps most importantly, HIF understands what older Australians want from their health insurance provider and what they don’t. That’s why HIF has created a new product called HIF Silver Plus Hospital that’s tailored to the needs of these important customers, while removing the cover that isn’t much use to over-60s – for example, IVF and obstetrics.
Anne Humphrey, HIF’s executive manager, told Starts at 60 that HIF created Silver Plus Hospital after the fund listened carefully to feedback from members that its hospital cover options weren’t meeting the needs of 60-pluses.
“They told us they wanted cover for things like heart surgery, joints and cataracts but didn’t want to pay for maternity or IVF,” Humphrey says. “That made a lot of sense to us. Why would they? So we took that feedback on board and worked hard to design our Silver Plus Hospital option, which we’ve just launched nationally.
“It offers great value for money and really fits the brief for consumers aged over 60. Plus it includes our HIF Second Opinion service, providing instant access to the global Best Doctors network, which has changed and saved thousands of lives around the world. This can bring great peace of mind to over-60s by giving them remote access to some of the medical profession’s leading minds across the world, should they need it.”
Even better, if you take out HIF’s new Silver Plus Hospital product plus Extras coverage before October 31, 2019, you’ll receive $150 back as a cash card*. Even if you choose HIF Silver Plus Hospital without Extras, there’s a $50 cash card on offer. All you have to do is quote the special Starts at 60 promotional codes (JOIN150 or JOIN50) when you switch to HIF to claim your cash back.
But before you sign up, it’s important you ensure that the coverage suits your needs, so we’ve explained what makes HIF Silver Plus Hospital different to other insurance policies and how you may benefit.
HIF Silver Plus Hospital is a comprehensive policy that’s categorised as an intermediate-level product under the federal government’s new rating system that separates policies into gold, silver, bronze and basic tiers based on the services covered. That means HIF Silver Plus Hospital has one of the widest ranges of cover available in the market today, including for age-related conditions such as cataracts, podiatric surgery, the implantation of hearing devices and treatment for sleep-related issues.
It also covers the big health worries, such as cancer, joint reconstruction, and heart and lung conditions, plus treatments including colonoscopies, endoscopies and pain management.
Arthur Todd of Western Australia, who’s been a member of HIF for an amazing 53 years, says that it’s not just value for money that keeps him loyal to HIF – it’s the peace of mind his policy offered when he needed extended treatment for a serious health issue. “Knowing that HIF was there behind the scenes, making it all happen, you can’t put a value on that,” he explains.
Meanwhile, HIF’s Extras cover also pays benefits on the items that are important to older Australians, including some of the best dental and optical benefits available from any insurer, plus rebates on hearing aids, CPAP machines, podiatry consultations and orthotics. As Peter Atack says, “the optical rebates are particularly good!”.
As well as cutting out coverage you don’t need, HIF Silver Plus Hospital offers a higher excess option of $750 to reduce your premium (excesses of $200 and $500 are also available), plus it allows you to choose your own treating doctor or specialist, which gives you the opportunity to minimise your gap fee by shopping around for the most affordable option.
There are other cost-savers on offer too. HIF has a great service called HIF Second Opinion that allows members to consult with one of more than 50,000 medical specialists around the world – saving you from paying extra for the peace of mind a second opinion can provide. Plus, private room hospital accommodation comes as standard if you’re covered by HIF Silver Plus Hospital.
Lastly, when it does come time to claim, Peter says HIF ensures you won’t have to struggle with reams of paperwork. “All of the services are very straightforward, and making Extras claims is particularly easy because you take a photo of your bill and email it in,” he explains. “I’d definitely recommend HIF to anyone my age.”
*Promotional terms and conditions apply. Visit www.hif.com.au/startsat60 for more information.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services advice.
If you’re done having kids, switch to HIF Silver Plus Hospital Cover now and watch the plusses stack up! You won’t have to pay for maternity, plus you can choose a $750 excess to reduce your premium. Plus, access second opinions from specialists worldwide! Call 1300 134 060 or visit hif.com.au to get a quote.