What is Members Own Health Funds?
Members Own Health Funds is an organisation created in 2014 by 18 not-for-profit and mutual health funds to make the Australian public aware there is an alternative to the for-profit health funds such as Medibank and Bupa.
Funds that display the Members Own Health Funds symbol share a common belief that profiting from people's ill-health or misfortune is not the Australian way. They make a yearly profit just like any other business, but the reason for making that profit is to benefit and secure their members' well-being, not to pay dividends to investors or overseas owners.
We are not suggesting that for-profit funds have bad intentions, but they can’t possibly be as effective at delivering great value health cover when they have owners that demand returns on their investment. Members Own health funds are owned by you, the members, so any surplus stays within the fund to keep premiums down and improve services and benefits.
This fundamental philosophical difference between the for-profit funds and the not-for-profits and mutuals is what motivated the 18 Members Own funds to join forces. With a Members Own health fund you’re a member, not a profit centre.
Is Members Own Health Funds a fund I can join?
No. Members Own Health Funds is a group of 18 individual not-for-profit and mutual health funds. Members Own is not a health fund you can join, but you can join any of the 20 open health insurers that display the Members Own symbol (some have eligibility restrictions).
How many people are with Members Own Health Funds?
Over 2.5 million people comprising individuals, couples and families from all parts of Australia are with health funds that carry the Members Own symbol, and that number is growing fast as more and more Australians realise the benefits of being with a not-for-profit or mutual health fund.
Does Members Own Health Funds offer any services?
Yes. Members Own offers three types of service when you contact us:
1. If you’re happy with your Members Own fund but are wondering whether you’re on the right cover, we will listen to your circumstances and try to find a cover with your fund that better suits your needs. We can also present options from other funds if you ask us to. Then when you’ve chosen a cover we can process the cover change request on your behalf.
2. If you already have health insurance but not with a Members Own fund, we can present you with a range of options from Members Own funds that will suit your circumstances and health needs. We can also explain the benefits of being with a not-for-profit or mutual fund versus the for-profits, and can determine your eligibility for some of the Members Own funds that have restrictions on who can join. When you’ve chosen a fund and cover we can process your membership application on your behalf.
3. If you don’t have health insurance we will listen to your circumstances and health needs and present you with a range of options from Members Own funds that we think you’ll be happy with. Then when you’ve chosen your fund and cover we can process your membership application on your behalf. We understand that health insurance can be confusing, so we will take the time to explain concepts and terms to you so that you understand what you’re buying.
Can I join any of the Members Own Health Funds?
Most Members Own funds are open to everyone to join, and some are designed exclusively for people in specific occupations, like the defence forces, the police force and education. We’ve listed any applicable eligibility criteria on each fund’s profile page.
Do Members Own Health Funds offer a wide range of health cover levels?
Yes. The Members Own funds offer various levels of hospital, extras and combined cover. The best way to determine which cover level is right for you is to contact us and explain your circumstances and health needs. We can then explain the differences between the funds and their products and help you to choose one.
My fund isn't part of Members Own Health Funds; what does this mean for me?
If you are with a for-profit health fund you are potentially receiving lower benefits (as a percentage of contributions) in comparison to Members Own health funds who on average return more in benefits, have more satisfied members and fewer complaints than the group comprising major for-profit funds.
Why do I need private health insurance?
There are a number of reasons why you might need or want private health insurance. In a general sense, like any form of insurance it provides peace of mind.
Having hospital cover provides you with choice. It means you can choose your doctor, the hospital, timing of the procedure and the type of room you want. It also means you have access to over 500 private hospitals throughout Australia.
As a public patient in a public hospital, you do not have any of these choices. Your doctor is selected by the hospital, and in cases where your condition is not life threatening, you may have to go on a public hospital waiting list. Unfortunately, this may mean waiting when you’re in pain, uncomfortable or unable to work until you have received treatment.
Having extras cover means that you can get money back for things that Medicare doesn't generally cover such as dental, physiotherapy, optical, chiropractic, ambulance and podiatry.
Other reasons for joining a health fund include minimising Federal Government levies and loadings such as the Medicare Levy Surcharge or Lifetime Health Cover loading, and planning to start, extend or protect your family.