HCF Private Health Insurance Review

HCF was founded in Sydney in 1932 and provides health insurance to more than 1.6 million Australians. It's Australia's largest not-for-profit health fund and also offers life, travel and pet insurance.

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by Gary Andrews

Last update 15 Apr 2021

Overview

HCF offers members four hospital plans, from budget policies through to a premium Gold plan that includes all treatments.

Five extras packages are also available.

All members have access to the HCF Thank You rewards program that offers savings at a range of popular retailers.

Members can also take up discounts on other insurance products.

Key Points

Voted Australia's most trusted health fund by Roy Morgan in 2018 & 2019.
$0 excess for any kids hospital treatments on selected family policies.
Access to HCF loyalty rewards programs and wellness services.

Compare HCF and other insurers on our panel. Click below to get started.

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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 by taking out hospital cover.

HCF offers four hospital plans tailored to your life stage and budget.

Plans range from entry-level Bronze cover through to the comprehensive Gold hospital cover package.

It also offers two special combined extras and hospital packages for younger members and families.

We'll cover these in the combined policies section..

All policies allow you to choose your excess.

Kids aren't subject to any excess on all of the plans below.

Hospital Bronze Plus

HCF's Bronze plan has a large number of inclusions.

HCF recommends this for healthy, budget conscious young singles and couples.

Key inclusions:

  • Dental surgery
  • Gynaecology
  • Hernia and appendix

Hospital Standard Silver Plus

Mid-level policy that covers common procedures as well as all items in the Bronze Plus.

It's designed to be an affordable option for health Australians of all ages.

Key inclusions:

  • Heart and vascular system
  • Back, neck and spine
  • Unrestricted rehabilitation

Hospital Silver Plus

The Silver Plus package is a comprehensive package that includes everything in the Standard Silver Plus and more.

Crucially, it doesn't include pregnancy services but does include joint replacements, cataracts and hearing aid implants, making it more suitable for older Aussies.

Key inclusions:

  • Hearing aid implants
  • Kidney dialysis
  • Cataracts

Hospital Gold

HCF's top cover includes pregnancy and birth services and weight loss surgery.

This policy is suitable if you're starting or growing your family, or simply want the highest level of cover.

It also comes with no excess for same day treatment.

Key inclusions:

  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Assisted reproductive services such as IVF
  • Weight loss surgery
  • Hospital psychiatric services

Ambulance Cover

Emergency ambulance cover is available on any hospital plan after a one-day waiting period.

There's also a specific ambulance cover package for South Australian residents after a one-day waiting period.

Not available to QLD & TAS residents, NSW & ACT residents who hold health insurance and WA residents if eligible for free state funded services.

Extras cover

Extras cover helps you with bills for routine out-of-hospital treatments such as dental, optical, chiro and physio, and can come with rebates of up to 100%.

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

HCF has five extras plans to choose from. The two top-level policies offer increased limits, based on the number of years you've been with the fund.

Starter Extras

A budget entry-level plan that offers 100% back on one annual dentist check-up, and basic cover for a range of therapies.

It doesn't include optical extras or major dental treatments, such as fillings and braces.

Starter Extras with Optical

A budget plan with preventative dental, basic optical and cover for a range of therapies, including physio, chiro, osteo and remedial massage.

Major dental treatments aren't included.

Mid Extras

A mid-level plan that has higher limits than the starter packages, as well as 100% back on two dental checks per year, premium optical services and more therapies.

It doesn't include orthodontics (braces).

Vital Extras

Comprehensive extras cover with access to HCF's More for You no-gap services like dental, optical and hearing aids.

You can also claim more rebates the longer you stay with HCF.

Top Extras

HCF's top extras policy that offers the highest claimable limits on a comprehensive range of services.

Limits and rebates increase the longer you stay with HCF.

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Combined cover packages

HCF offers two combined hospital and extras packages that have been specifically tailored towards couples planning a family, and young singles and couples.

My Future 250 / 500 / 750

A basic package with a choice of hospital excess that's been created for young, healthy singles and couples.

It offers less on hospital cover than HCF's Bronze policy but offers more generous rebates on optical and dental than the fund's Starter Extras packages.

Key inclusions:

  • 100% back on selected prescription glasses
  • Claims allowed on teeth whitening
  • Hospital cover includes, joint reconstructions, miscarriage, and hernia and appendix.

My Family Silver Plus

A comprehensive package for anybody planning a family. It includes the pregnancy and birth cover that would usually come in a Gold policy, as well as a flexible extras limit.

Assisted reproductive services are excluded.

There's an Advanced version of the package that gives 100% back on physio, chiro, osteo and podiatry.

Key inclusions:

  • Hospital and extra package with antenatal and postnatal support
  • Breastfeeding support services
  • 100% back on up to 2 dental check-ups and selected prescription glasses

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.

My Future Hospital Bronze Plus Hospital Standard Silver Plus Hospital Silver Plus My Family Silver Plus Top Hospital Gold

Hospital cover waiting periods

  • 2 months -- rehabilitation, psychiatric and palliative care
  • 12 months -- pre-existing conditions
  • 12 months -- pregnancy and birth
  • 2 months -- all other hospital services

Member benefits

Members have access to HCF Thank You, a loyalty program with savings on gifts cards at popular supermarkets, department stores and other retailers.

HCF also offers a range of health programs for people on eligible policies.

These include Healthy Weight for Life, in-branch heart health checks, quit smoking programs and swimming lessons.

My Family Silver Plus and Gold Hospital policies are also eligible for additional pregnancy and birthing support, such as childbirth education classes and lactation consultants.

How to claim

You can claim on the spot through the HICAPS payment system at your provider.

You can also claim through member services online and the HCF mobile app.

There's also an option to drop your claim form into an HCF branch or in the post.

Hospital agreements

HCF has agreements with most 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.

Customer service

The health insurance Ombudsman has noted that HCF received 15.4% of all health insurer complaints in 2019.

That may sound like a lot but HCF is the third biggest fund in Australia, so this is relative to their market size.

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FAQs

Is HCF a not-for-profit fund?

Yes, HCF is the largest not-for-profit fund in Australia.

Who can apply? Are there any restrictions?

You’ll need to be 18 or over to apply for health insurance with HCF.

Is it easy to switch to HCF?

Yes, you can switch to HCF with Compare Club. Sign up right here, right now.

We’ll take care of the paperwork.

Do I need to re-serve waiting periods?

In most cases, no, providing you’re switching to equivalent or lower cover.

If you’re considering switching to HCF, one of our specialists can check if you need to serve any waiting periods.

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 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.

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