Health Funds

Chauffeur, Lex Hanna switched from one of Australia's big corporate health insurers to a smaller not-for-profit fund to cover his new gastric band. He's lost weight - and gained faith. "These guys are looking after you because they want to look after you, not because they just want your money." Medibank Private and Bupa, the for-profit giants backed by shareholders have 56% of the market. But compared with Members Own not-for-profit funds that have banded together against the big two, which offer the best deal?

There are some savings to be made if you do shop around. We compared 19 funds' Top Hospital Cover premiums for a family, with no excess. The for-profit funds - most expensive premiums AHM $319.60, Medibank and BUPA almost exactly the same, $281. Not-for-profits .. The community-based funds open to anyone, are generally cheaper. Average premium cost, for-profits $299. Not-for-profit's $270, cheaper by $29 a month, $348 a year. "You want the best value policy, how much they are going to pay out when something goes wrong and we know these member-backed funds have very good value policies." Research by Members Own health funds, verified by KPMG, found over the past five years, on average, not-for-profit funds have, overall, given better service and rebated more back to their members than the for-profit funds - Medibank Private, BUPA, NIB and AHM collectively.

For more details