You should have received communication from us by now about an increase to your RBHS membership payments from 9 October 2020. If you cannot find anything in your inbox or mailbox from us, please let us know as soon as possible.
Below are some of your frequently asked questions from this year and from years gone by about the premium rise.
As you know, earlier in the year, we postponed our annual premium increase for 6 months to help members through the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis.
We know that this year has been a tough one and we have adapted to the change by providing more for our members. Please read our COVID-19 page for our extended telehealth measures, free health programs and what we can do for members experiencing financial difficulties.
It is true that some elective surgeries and extras services were reduced for a number of months this year and this meant we had slightly lower claims than usual. During the last 6 months, we have returned half a million to our members by postponing our premium increase, paying extra benefits and financial hardship measures to help members through the pandemic. We have also set aside funds to pay the expected increase in claims as our health system plays catch-up.
We know that jobs and the economy have been hit hard and that there are real impacts to many members’ health, lifestyle and finances. Importantly, as a not-for-profit health fund, we only charge you what it costs to pay member claims and run the fund, with our aim being to be here to look after our members for many years into the future.
No one likes paying more and we do not like to either. As a member-owned not-for-profit health fund, if we did not need to pass on a premium increase to keep our finances stable, we would not.
Some other funds may manage their finances differently, but at RBHS, we only charge what it costs to pay claims and run our business. We aim is to keep ourselves financially sustainable into the future, so we can look after members when they most need us.
There are plenty of reasons that we believe hospital cover is important. Things like:
- knowing you can have access to private hospitals with state-of-the-art facilities
- being able to choose your doctor
- not having to spend months (even years) on a public hospital waiting list by going into a private hospital
- if you earn over the threshold for Medicare Levy Surcharge (currently $90,000 for singles and $180,000 for families), you may save tax by not having to pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge.
- avoiding a Lifetime Health Cover loading (by having hospital cover before you turn 31)
You might be surprised by just how much it costs to enter hospital as a private patient. Here are just some of the claims we paid in 2019 and early 2020:
- $16,700 for a teenager’s jaw surgery
- $71,300 for a man’s heart surgery
- $71,600 for a woman’s spinal surgery
- $39,600 for a woman’s Cochlear implant
- $93,200 for a woman’s leg surgery
When you think about health insurance, it is important to think about more than just the cost. Health insurance is about giving you more choice for your healthcare, less time waiting for the services you need and (most importantly) the peace of mind to know that you’ll be looked after when you need it most.
In short, we need to be able to pay members’ claims. As a not-for-profit fund we only charge you what it costs to pay member claims and run the fund. Despite the pandemic, the ongoing trend is growing medical costs and more people claiming for these services.
We made a conscious decision this year not to increase extras benefits, for instance, because any increase in benefits would push premiums up. We have been listening to members, who generally want us to do everything possible to keep premiums as low as possible. An increase to certain extras benefits does not always benefit everyone (if you aren’t claiming those specific benefits); keeping premiums down benefits all members. We will continue to review our benefits on an annual basis to ensure we are offering the best possible value at affordable prices.
This is our lowest average premium rise in the last eight years at 3.08%. The other good news is that this is we are not-for-profit, which means we only charge what it costs to pay claims and run our fund. In the 2019 financial year we paid $12.9 million for member benefits out of $15.9 million in premiums (or 81% of our revenue), but rising health care costs and usage necessitate an increase in premiums.
We try to keep our costs down in other ways too, such as:
- running as efficiently as possible so we have low administration costs
- working with the Australian Health Service Alliance (AHSA) to have more bargaining power with hospitals and doctors
- working with industry bodies to lobby the Government for changes that make healthcare more affordable for everyone
We only ever increase membership payments by what it costs to pay claims and keep our fund running. All health fund increases are reviewed and approved by the Government.
If you have paid in advance you will not have to start paying the new amount until your next payment is due. For example, if you are paid up to 4 November 2020, you will start paying the new amount from 5 November 2020.
For more information, please call us.