A healthy ap­proach

Townsville Bulletin - - Investor - by Tony Rag­gatt tony. rag­gatt@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

AS health funds across the coun­try pre­pare to raise their pre­mi­ums by an av­er­age of 5.57 per cent, one Townsville-based health in­surance provider is un­der­cut­ting the mar­ket for the sixth year in a row.

Queens­land Coun­try Health Fund gen­eral man­ager Aaron New­man said pre­mium in­creases for the fund con­tin­ued to be less than the in­dus­try av­er­age.

‘‘ Not only have we man­aged to keep pre­mium in­creases to a min­i­mum for our mem­bers but we have also in­creased ben­e­fits for the third year in a row,’’ he said. ‘ ‘ I t cer­tainly goes against the trend in this in­dus­try ( which is) to in­crease pre­mi­ums and re­duce ben­e­fits.’’

Queens­land Coun­try Health Fund’s mem­ber­ships have in­creased at around twice the na­tional in­dus­try growth rate in the past 12 months al­though the num­ber of peo­ple cov­ered by the fund re­mains small at around 35,000.

Mr New­man cred­ited a more in­formed con­sumer for the on-go­ing in­crease in mem­ber­ship growth.

‘‘ Peo­ple are do­ing their re­search and they are em­brac­ing our l ower pre­mi­ums with in­creased ben­e­fits phi­los­o­phy,’’ he said.

‘‘ Com­pared to the other large funds, we of­fer a great value for money propo­si­tion and ev­ery year it just gets bet­ter.’’

Queens­land Coun­try Health Fund will this year in­crease their pre­mi­ums by 4.89 per cent, with in­creases in ben­e­fits across their den­tal and op­ti­cal cover.

They will also in­tro­duce ad­di­tional ben­e­fits for weight loss and quit smok­ing pro­grams and a loy­alty plan to in­crease an­nual lim­its on den­tal and ther­a­pies cover.

Queens­land Coun­try Health Fund, a sub­sidiary of the Queens­land Coun­try Credit Union, is a not-for­profit health ben­e­fits fund.

It was es­tab­lished in 1977 at Mount Isa as the MIM Em­ploy­ees Health So­ci­ety and merged with the credit union in 1999.

UN­DER­CUT­TING: Queens­land Coun­try Health Fund gen­eral man­ager Aaron New­man

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