HCF Fit and Well : Winter 2012
FIT&WELL 12 To Thursday 16 June 1932, in fact. Times were tough; the Great Depression had taken hold. Yet shared hardship seemed to bring out the best in people. It was an age when courteous, respectful ser vice and genuine concern for one's fellow man were both held in higher regard than the pursuit of proﬁt. On 16 June 1932, the Hospitals Saturday Fund (itself founded 39 years earlier, in 1893), together with the newly created Hospital Commission of NSW formed the Metropolitan Hospitals Contribution Fund, MHCF. On that day 80 years ago, HCF was born. Not-for-pro t HCF is the oldest of the 'Big Four' Australian health funds. But the magniﬁcent thing about these Big Four funds was that they were all originally set up as not-for- proﬁt organisations. Each fund ploughed proﬁts back into the business, to generate more beneﬁts for members. This thoroughly decent principle is called mutuality: the fund is run for the mutual beneﬁt of all members. In other words, people are more important than proﬁts. It's a noble ethic. But times change. It's different now Today we live in a proﬁt-driven, global ﬁnancial world. In recent years, we've seen a number of health funds relinquish their not- for-proﬁt status. Three of the Big Four health funds in Australia have changed in this way, with one fund even changing its name to reﬂect its overseas owner. So the operating principle and guiding ethic of three of our four major health funds is no longer mutuality. HCF has always operated on the principle of mutuality, and still does. TO FIND A DECENT HEALTH FUND, YOU HAVE TO GO BACK 80 YEARS...