Port Macquarie residents have raised concerns regarding the impending closure of the only HCF health insurance company branch in town.
The branch located in Port Central Shopping centre will be officially closed on July 23 and services made available in Coffs Harbour.
A spokesman said HCF had made the difficult decision to close its Port Macquarie branch.
"This decision has not been made lightly but reflects a number of factors including the size of the catchment area, potential for new growth and increasing trends in on-line and digital support for our members," he said.
"Regrettably, the closure of this branch will impact a small number of employees. HCF will be supporting impacted employees through this transition and are offering redeployment opportunities until end December 2020."
Resident and long-term HCF member Anthony Moy said other premises in Port Macquarie should have been considered before closure.
"I believe that many locals will now be severely disadvantaged through this closure which must surely be to the detriment of the public at large, and potentially HCF support in particular," he said.
I believe that many locals will now be severely disadvantaged through this closure which must surely be to the detriment of the public at large, and potentially HCF support in particular.Anthony Moy
"HCF picked up a large following I understand when the MBF Office in Port Macquarie shut down in a somewhat similar restructuring a few years ago, and here we are now faced with a similar situation with HCF.
"I think they have misread their clients here and I have been a member since 2008. Doing business by email or phone, I can see that is going to give some of the more elderly people cause for concern.
"I don't think there is much consideration for the people who live here. I think they should reconsider to at least maintain a presence in Port Macquarie either somewhere else or with less hours."
Mr Moy said some members could suffer without the option of face-to-face service if all business is conducted by email, phone or travel to Coffs Harbour.
"I cannot believe the stupidity of the decision in the first place given the support personally seen at the local office over many years, but more so the ridiculous notion of travel to Coffs Harbour," Mr Moy said.
"It does nothing but show the complete disregard for the local clients, and the total lack of perspective in even suggesting such an alternative face-to face option.
It does nothing but show the complete disregard for the local clients, and the total lack of perspective in even suggesting such an alternative face-to face option.Anthony Moy
"I am led to understand that no consideration was given to a possible relocation to another less expensive site nor the services which potentially could still be given, say via reduced days/hours of operation.
The company has thanked HCF employees and indicated there would be support available throughout the change.
"While the decision is not related to COVID-19, that experience has demonstrated how we can actively support members through online and digital channels as well as via call centre support," said the HCF spokesman.
"We will continue to review our operations to ensure sustainable success and ensure our members are not paying additional costs for unneeded services.
"As Australia's largest not for profit health insurer we remain committed to ensuring we can continue to deliver affordable, understandable, high quality and customer centric healthcare to our members."