HBF Health Insurance Review

HBF, which stands for Hospital Benefit Fund, is based in Western Australia and has been providing health cover to Australians since 1941. Their mascot is the famous WA quokka.

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by Gary Andrews

Last update 15 Apr 2021

Overview

HBF is a not-for-profit fund, owned by more than a million members.

The fund offers a range of policies, from budget cover through to comprehensive plans.

Members receive discounts on health-related products and services, along with free health coaching over the phone.

Key Points

Discounts on gym memberships and fitness apparel.
HBF app for claiming on the go.
Annual flu vaccination for members.

HBF isn't on our panel but we're confident we can get you a great deal on your health insurance.

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Hospital cover

Nobody chooses to go to hospital.

But when you do, hospital cover will help you get the treatment you need, where and when you want it.

It also helps to pay the bills, as fees for hospital rooms and specialists can add up.

Think about what services you're likely to need, in line with your budget.

If you earn over $90,000 individually or $180,000 as a couple, you could avoid paying the Medicare Levy Surcharge.

HBF offers five hospital plans for a variety of ages, life stages and budgets.

Each level of cover, from Basic to Gold, builds on the level before it.

Basic Hospital Plus

Low cost hospital cover that covers the basics that also covers you for your own private room at HBF's Member Plus hospitals.

Designed for budget-conscious singles and couples, particularly those looking to avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge.

Key inclusions:

  • Emergency ambulance
  • Gynaecology
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Dental surgery

Bronze Hospital Plus

This policy is more comprehensive than Basic Hospital Plus, but it doesn't include pregnancy and birth or common conditions that affect older Australians like cataracts.

Key inclusions:

  • Ear, nose and throat
  • Chemo, radiotherapy and immunotherapy for cancer
  • Gastrointestinal endoscopy

Silver Hospital

Mid-range hospital cover for a wide selection of services.

It includes heart and vascular, and hearing devices, so may be suitable for some older Australians.

Key inclusions:

  • Heart and vascular system
  • Podiatric surgery
  • Implantation of hearing devices

Silver Hospital Plus

Premium hospital cover for most services, excluding just a few like obstetrics and weight loss surgery.

Key inclusions:

  • Rehabilitation
  • Join replacements
  • Cataracts

Gold Hospital

This is the top cover with no exclusions. It includes pregnancy and birth, so is suitable for those looking to start a family.

Key inclusions:

  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Assisted reproductive services
  • Kidney dialysis
  • Weight loss surgery

Ambulance Cover

All HBF extras, hospital and combined policies have emergency ambulance cover included (excluding air ambulance).

Extras cover

From dental, to optical, to chiro and more, extras insurance helps cover the bills for routine treatments with rebates of up to 100%.

Simply work out what you need and what you're prepared to pay.

HBF offers five extras policies to suit a range of needs. You can purchase a policy on its own or combine it with hospital cover.

Basic Extras

A budget extras option with a standard 2 month waiting period that covers everyday health costs such as general dental, optical, chiro and physio.

Flex 50

Offers 50% or more back on 12 common services including major dental, remedial massage, and natural therapies.

Flex 60

Similar to the Flex 50 package but with higher rebates of 60% or over, and a larger annual limit.

Complete 60

More comprehensive than the Flex 60, the Complete 60 offers cover for a wide range of extras services, including orthodontics and psychology, with 60% or more back.

Top 70

HBF's most expensive extras package, this option gives you access to HBF's full range of treatments and services, such as podiatry, with 70% or more back.

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Waiting periods

To stop people signing up, claiming, then cancelling their health insurance, all insurers apply waiting periods.

Generally, the more expensive the treatment, the longer you'll wait. But keep an eye out for special deals with waiting periods reduced or waived.

And remember, if you're switching to equivalent or lower cover you usually won't have to serve any new waiting periods.

Basic Hospital Plus

  • 2 months -- rehabilitation, psychiatric and palliative care (restricted, and including where the condition is pre-existing)
  • 2 months -- all other hospital treatments
  • 12 months -- all other pre-existing conditions

Bronze Hospital Plus Silver Hospital Silver Hospital Plus

  • 2 months -- rehabilitation, psychiatric and palliative care (including where the condition is pre-existing)
  • 2 months -- all other hospital treatments
  • 12 months -- all other pre-existing conditions

Gold Hospital

  • 2 months -- rehabilitation, psychiatric and palliative care (including where the condition is pre-existing)
  • 2 months -- all other hospital treatments
  • 12 months -- all other pre-existing conditions
  • 12 months -- pregnancy and birth

Member benefits

HBF members get access to a range of discounts and health programs:

  • Discounts on gym memberships and fitness apparel
  • Higher extras rebates at Members Plus providers
  • Telephone health coaching and other free health programs
  • Fully covered flu vaccination every year

How to claim

Claim via the free HBF Health app or online, or by sending a claim form through the post. You can also claim on the spot when you visit a provider that offers HICAPS.

Hospital agreements

HBF has agreements with many private hospitals and day clinics across Australia.

When comparing policies, it's worth checking if your local hospitals and clinics are covered.

Our specialists at Compare Club can do this for you.

ACT

  • Private hospitals -- 6
  • Day surgeries -- 7

NSW

  • Private hospitals -- 93
  • Day surgeries -- 85

NT

  • Private hospitals -- 2
  • Day surgeries -- 1

QLD

  • Private hospitals -- 51
  • Day surgeries -- 45

SA

  • Private hospitals -- 24
  • Day surgeries -- 23

TAS

  • Private hospitals -- 5
  • Day surgeries -- 3

VIC

  • Private hospitals -- 77
  • Day surgeries -- 67

WA

  • Private hospitals -- 23
  • Day surgeries -- 21

Customer service

HBF received 6.1% of the total health complaints in 2019, significantly under their market share of 7.5%.

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FAQs

Is HBF a not-for-profit fund?

Yes, HBF is not-for-profit.

Who can apply? Are there any restrictions?

Anyone applying for any HBF health insurance policy must comply with the HBF Fund Rules and any other requirements of HBF.

Is it easy to switch to HBF?

HBF is not on Compare Club’s panel, but we’re confident we can find you a good deal from the other funds we compare.

You’ll need to contact HBF directly if you want to move to them.

Do I need to re-serve waiting periods?

No. If you hold equivalent cover with another fund, HBF will honour any waiting periods you already served with them.

Can I change my level of cover?

Yes, you can choose a lower or higher level of cover.

If you move to a higher level of cover, you will usually need to serve waiting periods on the extra services.

Do I get the government rebate?

Most Australians are eligible to receive a rebate from the government.

This will depend on your age and income.

To learn what you're entitled to, see this rebate guide.

Do I have to pay the Lifetime Health Cover loading?

If you're joining for the first time and you're 31 or over, you usually need to pay 2% loading for each year you've gone without health cover since your 31st birthday.

You can find out more here.

When do extras reset?

Extras reset on 1 January each year.

What age are children covered up to?

Generally, 23.

If they're studying full time, dependents can be covered as a student under a family policy up to the age of 25.

Children must not be married or living in a de facto relationship.

Read our guide to learn more.

Who underwrites the health policies?

HBF.

This guide is opinion only and should not be taken as medical or financial advice. Check with a financial professional before making any decisions.