The household bill you should review right now

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Let's not mince words. Times are tough for Australians right now, between COVID-19, the rising cost of petrol, and soaring grocery prices.

It's safe to say we've had plenty to deal with over the past few years. Another costly price rise is the last thing we need, but unfortunately some health insurance premiums are about to start going up.

Health insurance premiums typically go up on April 1 each year, but in 2022 some funds are deferring their increases. As a result, it's understandable why policyholders may be unclear about if or when their premiums are increasing this year.

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Whether your premium is going up as soon as April or later, the average increase this year is 2.70%. Although this may not be as high as previous years, rates have continued to steadily creep up over the past decade - rising on average by more than 50% in the space of 10 years.

That's why now is an important time for health fund members to get themselves up to speed. Confused policyholders may want to find out what changes are on the way, and use the premium rate rise as an opportunity to review their policy to ensure it still suits their needs and budget.

And here are three of the main benefits of reviewing.

You could save money 

The 2.70% average increase could cost families an extra $125 per year on average, while singles could be parting with an additional $58 a year on average.

We know that every cent counts in these trying times, so why not review your policy and consider ways to save money. For example, consider paying your annual premium in advance if you're in a position to do so, prior to a premium increase. You could save money this way because you essentially delay having to pay the increased premiums for up to 12 months if your insurance premium goes up in 2022.

Also, ask yourself if you really need all those Extras? Extras cover can help with costs that are generally not covered by Medicare, such as dental or optical. But if you're not using them, then why pay for them?  You could consider hospital-only cover that may make your premium a lot cheaper.

Perhaps you'll find better value 

Price isn't everything when it comes to private health cover. Finding suitable health insurance will depend on a variety of factors, including your life stage and what's valuable to you or your family.

If you're not using all of the services covered under your Extras policy, but having dental is valuable for your family, you could look at flexible products that combine your separate extras limits into a single annual limit.

You'll make shopping around a habit

Aussies obviously have way more important things to do than worry about private health insurance, right? But if it's been a few years, the 2022 premium rate rise should be your cue to take control and compare funds.

The Private Health Insurance Ombudsman recommends that you review your policy at least once a year. You may be in the wrong fund or being covered for things you don't need, or services you will never use, which is why there are many benefits to reviewing

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Sophie Ryan is the spokesperson for comparison service iSelect. She has a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of the Sunshine Coast, and provides advice on how Aussies can save on their household bills.

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