HBF is hoping for a "less adversarial" relationship with the Abbott Government after controversial changes to health policy overshadowed another record year for the WA health insurer.
Improved returns on its investment portfolio enabled HBF to nearly double its surplus last financial year to $176.6 million from $93.2 million as premium income increased 7.1 per cent to $1.28 billion.
But the insurer said the improved financial results should not diminish the looming detrimental impact of changes introduced by the Gillard Government that have added "complexity and uncertainty" to the sector.
They include means-testing of the private health insurance rebate and the indexing of the increase in the rebate to inflation.
"In recent years, the relationship between the health insurance sector and the Federal Government has been a difficult one," HBF chairman Tony Iannello and managing director Rob Bransby said in their joint report to members.
"The development of policy has taken place with little or no industry consultation and the interest of health fund members have seemed to be low on the Government's list of priorities," they said.
HBF said claims in the 12 months to June 30 exceeded $1 billion for a second consecutive year, up 5.5 per cent at $1.14 billion.
"While higher than the previous year, the growth in our benefits was less pronounced than had been forecast, in contrast with steep increases we have seen in previous years," Mr Iannello and Mr Bransby said.
This had enabled HBF to hold the increase in its premiums to an average 3.8 per cent, against the 5.6 per cent rise recorded by its competitors.Commission income from HBF's general insurance joint venture with CGU increased to $14.4 million, while improved equity markets drove a $92.7 million gain on the value of its billion-dollar investment portfolio.