Home / World News / West Live: HBF Health CEO John Van Der Wielen pledges any “undue” profits made from coronavirus crisis will go back to members

West Live: HBF Health CEO John Van Der Wielen pledges any “undue” profits made from coronavirus crisis will go back to members

The boss of Western Australia’s largest health insurance provider has vowed that any “undue” profits made from the coronavirus crisis will be handed back to members.

After becoming the first insurer in Australia to commit to scrapping premium rate increases, HBF has now gone a step further by pledging that any profit made from claims that never arise will be reimbursed to patients.

It comes after The Australia Institute calculated Health funds will reap $3.5-$5.5 billion in savings over the next six months following the federal government’s decision to ban non-urgent elective surgeries.

This was equivalent to each health fund policyholder paying $500-$750 for health cover they can’t use and their premiums should be slashed from next month, the institute said.

In an exclusive interview with The West Live host Jenna Clarke, HBF Health chief executive officer John Van Der Wielen confirmed health funds could be in for a windfall due to elective surgery being deferred.

However, he said that because HBF — which is a not-for-profit fund — has no shareholders or dividends to pay “there’s no intention ever to unduly profit from members”.

“As we evaluate these next steps, the important thing I want to say to our members as a not for profit fund is if an additional profit develops then we’ve got to work out a way to look after our members and give some of that back,” he said.

“How we do that and how it eventuate we’re really not sure… I just need people to understand that this is a completely new outcome.”

Mr Van Der Wielen said while money for elective surgeries was not being used now, it should still be kept in reserve.

“You still need to have a provision for the claims that will happen and it’s clear elective surgery has been deferred not cancelled so the claim will arise,” he said.

“What HBF needs to make sure is it’s got the money put aside for the claims that will arise but if there is claims that never eventuate, that money if there was undue profits should be refunded in some and handed back to the members.”

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