03/03/2021 - 03:00

HBF to refund $40m in claims

03/03/2021 - 03:00

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HBF will follow through with its pledge to refund deferred claims to patients and is expecting to make about 500,000 payments worth $40 million to policyholders.

HBF to refund $40m in claims
John Van Der Wielen says HBF is committed to returning unused funds to members. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

HBF will follow through with its pledge to refund deferred claims to patients and is expecting to make 500,000 payments worth $40 million to policyholders.

The not-for-profit health insurer had recorded net profit of $39 million in the year to June 2019, which represented a $55 million decline on 12 months prior.

However, those results did not count for $94 million of deferred claims caused by elective surgery shutdowns during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If that money were accounted for HBF would have recorded net profit of $133 million in the previous financial year.

Managing director John Van Der Wielen told Business News at the time that these claims were expected to be made eventually and that any additional savings would be refunded to members.

HBF now expects payments of between $31 and $140 will be made per policy, subject to regulator approval, with a final amount to be determined at the end of this month.

“When elective surgery and ancillary services became available again, particularly in WA where the majority of our members reside, we saw an increase in claims but not the surge we had anticipated,” Mr Van Der Wielen said.

“With claim levels now normalising, it is clear a meaningful portion of the deferred claims provision will not be utilised, and we are committed to returning those funds to members.”

HBF is the fifth largest fund manager in Western Australia according to Data & Insights with $1.4 billion worth of assets under management.

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