HBA Announces Below Average Premium Uncrease for the 7th Consecutive Year

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HBA today confirmed its commitment to keeping health insurance affordable for more Australians, announcing its seventh consecutive year of below industry average premium rises.

For HBA's customers the average premium increase will be lower than $1.10 a week for singles or $2.50 a week for families with hospital cover

HBA today confirmed its commitment to keeping health insurance affordable for more Australians, announcing its seventh consecutive year of below industry average premium rises.

In 2008 HBA's average premium increase will be 4.58% -- below the national industry average of 4.99%.

Over the past seven years HBA's premiums have increased by an average of 4.95 percent compared to the industry's seven year average of 6.43 percent.

HBA's Managing Director Richard Bowden said HBA is leading the industry in supporting customers with high levels of cover while maintaining downward pressure on premium increases.

"As the second largest non-government health insurer in Australia, HBA's track record in keeping average premium rises below the industry average each year is unmatched."

"For HBA's customers the average premium increase will be lower than $1.10 a week for singles or $2.50 a week for families with hospital cover," Mr Bowden said.

In 2007 HBA supported its customers with more than $1 billion in hospital and general health care treatments, representing a 9 percent increase in benefits paid compared to the previous year. This included payments for more than 305,000 hospital admissions by HBA customers last year.

HBA's top ten claims alone totalled more than $1.2 million in 2007. The highest claim for a family was more than $357,000 for the birth and hospital care of triplets.

Mr Bowden emphasised that as long as health care costs continued to rise at double the rate of inflation, the pressure on health funds to increase premiums would remain.

"The Health Services Index showed costs for hospital and medical services rose by 4.8% in 2007, while HBA's average premium increase is below that level, at 4.58%."

"Our customers can also be assured that we have consistently kept our operating costs below the industry average for the past seven years," Mr Bowden said. "Less than eight and a half cents in every customer dollar is used to manage the operations of HBA."

"HBA's members have not faced the significant fluctuations in premiums rises experienced by other funds, giving our customers the continuity they need in managing their budgets each year."

Keeping health insurance affordable while providing Australians with the protection they need is a balancing act that HBA continues to achieve as a health fund focussed on supporting the needs of its customers.

HBA's new premiums take effect on 1 April 2008 and letters informing members of their individual premium change will arrive in the mail during March 2008.

HBA is Australia's second largest non-government health fund, covering more than a million Australians, with a national market share of 10%. HBA is the second largest private health fund in Victoria with 22.3% market share. The fund operates as Mutual Community in the Northern Territory and South Australia -- where it is market leader with 43.2% market share.

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