HCF Private Health Insurance Review

Courtney Allan

Courtney Allan

Updated 01/09/2021

HCF was founded in Sydney in 1932 and provides health insurance to more than 1.8 million Australians. HCF stands for Hospitals Contribution Fund and is Australia's largest not-for-profit health fund and also offers life, travel, and pet insurance.


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

  • $0 excess for any kids' hospital treatments on selected family policies.

  • Access to HCF loyalty rewards programs and wellness services.

  • 100% back on 1 or 2 dental check-ups a year.

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Hospital cover

Appropriate hospital cover ensures you receive the care you need where and when you need it. It can also help you save money in the long term by covering treatment costs as they add up.

It’s not like you can ever be prepared for a surprise hospital visit, but when you do find yourself in a medical emergency, it’s reassuring to know you’re covered for health services, hospital room costs and specialist consultation fees.

Make sure to budget for the right hospital cover and to investigate potential health funds. Bear in mind that if you’re earning over $90,000, you may be able to avoid making Medicare Levy Surcharge payments.

HCF offers a range of hospital plans tailored to your life stage and budget.

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

HCF also offers three special combined extras and hospital packages for younger HCF 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 healthy 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 Premium 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

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.

Extras cover

HCF’s extras reset on January 1 every year.

Whether you need dental, optical or chiro care, extras cover can help you save money on routine treatments, with rebates offered up to 100%. When purchasing extras cover, it’s important to consider what you need, and your budget expectations.

We can help you dig a little deeper into gap fees, agreements with local clinics and hospitals, and the claim potential your HCF policy may have.

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 complex fillings and braces.

Key inclusions:

  •  Physiotherapy

  • General dental

  • Remedial massage

Starter Extras with Optical

A budget plan with preventative dental, basic optical, and cover for a range of therapies. Major dental treatments aren't included.

Key inclusions:

  • 100% back on one dental check-up per year at participating providers

  • Optical

  • Physiotherapy, chiropractic and osteopathy

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).

Key inclusions:

  • Health management programs

  • HCF approved vaccines and immunisations

  • Osteopathy and chiropractic services

Vital Extras

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

Annual limits for some services increase the longer you stay with HCF.

Key inclusions:

  • Podiatry

  • Dietetics

  • Speech pathology

Top Extras

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

Some annual limits increase the longer you stay with HCF.

Key inclusions:

  • Hearing aids

  • School Accident benefits

  • Travel and accommodation


Hospital agreements

Most hospital and day surgeries around Australia have active agreements with HCF. When comparing policies, it’s worthwhile to check whether your local hospitals and clinics are covered by your desired health fund.

Our experts at Compare Club can assist you regarding this.


Customer service

HCF received 16.4% of complaints in 2021, and has a market share of 11.7%^.


1. Is HCF a not-for-profit fund?

Yes, HCF is the largest not-for-profit fund in Australia. Check out guide of not-for-profit health funds in australia to see which other funds are not-for-profit.

2. Who can apply? Are there restrictions?

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

3. 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.

4. Do I need to re-serve waiting periods?

Typically, you don’t need to serve a new waiting period if you’re switching to a cover with an equivalent or lower level of benefits. However, you may need to serve a new waiting period if you’re switching to a policy with a higher level of cover.

5. Can I change my level of cover?

Yes, you can change your level of cover (higher, lower, or equivalent with another health fund) freely. However, you may need to double-check on whether you need to re-serve waiting periods.

6. Do I get the government rebate?

You may be eligible for a rebate of up to 32.812% for every dollar of private health insurance premiums you purchase. Your eligibility depends on your age and income. Read our guide on rebates for more information.

7. Do I have to pay the Lifetime Health Cover loading?

You may need to pay 2% loading for every year you go without hospital cover from your 31st birthday. Find out more about how much you may need to pay with our guide.

8. Up to what age are children covered?

If you're between 22 and 30, you may be eligible to be covered with Extended Family Cover for an additional loading on top of your family's current premium. 

Extended Family Cover is available on some levels of HCF health cover.

HCF are one of many health insurers implementing the initiative from the Federal Government.


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

^Private Health Ombudsman, HCF, accessed 8 January 2023.