Leading national not-for-profit health fund - Health Insurance Fund of Australia (HIF) has hit back at claims from CHOICE that it sells a "junk" insurance policy.
CHOICE has embarked on a new name and shame campaign claiming that major funds are selling useless products to consumers.
HIF Managing Director Graeme Gibson said he is extremely disappointed in CHOICE for its unbalanced and incorrect information criticising several health funds.
“The view expressed by CHOICE is not balanced and has not considered all of the key facts and aspects,” Mr Gibson said.
“Our GoldVital Hospital cover has been slammed by CHOICE – most unfairly.
“GoldVital Hospital was created in response to significant demand from prospective and existing members who consider themselves fit and healthy but just want a relatively lower level of hospital treatment cover that is affordable to them, so that they could be covered in case an accident happens (they don’t think there is much chance of them getting sick), to avoid paying the Medicare Levy Surcharge; and/or to ensure that they don’t have to pay the Lifetime Health Cover age loading at a later date if they decide they need a comprehensive level of hospital cover when they’re older.
“Only 4 per cent of our members are covered by GoldVital although 71 per cent of them have also taken up a separate Extras cover for treatments like dental, optical, physio, chiro, weight management programs and more. I think this indicates we are meeting consumer needs and/or preferences and giving them affordable choices.
“Essentially by choosing this cheaper product before age 31 now, it will save them paying the government’s loading later on in life.”
Mr Gibson said HIF goes to significant effort to ensure members clearly understand the inclusions, exclusions and/or restrictions on the GoldVital product.
“Given the contribution that low claiming policies have to make to the industry Risk Equalisation Pool, our GoldVital hospital cover provides little to no margin so this is not “ripping-off” our members.
“Our aim is to provide a low-cost affordable entry to private health insurance for consumers and we encourage them to upgrade as soon as they can.
“One of HIF’s key attractors is that we offer choice to our members; a philosophy that’s highlighted in our brand strapline -
Your Health, Your Choice - and reflected in our core business model. For example - a choice of policy (mix n’ match style products), choice of provider (no ‘participating provider’ schemes), choice of claiming methods and choice of payment options.
“Where GoldVital is concerned, customers specifically asked us to make such a product available to them to better reflect their personal circumstances and preferences, and to give them the ability to choose that product – so it’s disappointing that the CHOICE is attacking us for enabling that choice.”
Media contact: Donna Cole, LastSay Communications 0419 901229 or firstname.lastname@example.org