Health insurance hikes: the April 1 changes you need to know about
Private health insurance premiums are set to rise by an average of 3.25% from April 1. The comparison service iSelect estimates the average family will pay around $135 a year more for private cover, while couples will pay $151 more and singles policies will cost another $62.
What's more, there will be a number of important policy changes kicking in on the same date.
Laura Crowden, spokesperson for iSelect, says the combination of rising premiums and significant changes means all policyholders need to carefully check their cover before April 1 to make sure they won't be paying more for less.
The biggest change is the introduction of gold/silver/bronze/basic product tiers for hospital policies.
This will set minimum standards for hospital services and treatments to be covered under each tier. Ultimately this change will make it easier to compare policies but iSelect warns that the transition means for some customers there will be significant changes to what their policy does and does not cover.
Other changes include discounted premiums for under-30s, the removal of 16 natural therapies and the ability for customers to increase their excess in exchange for lower premiums.
Crowden says it's important that all private health insurance customers take the time to understand exactly how their hospital policy will change and compare their options to make sure they are still getting the best value.
Think about what you absolutely need covered and what you could do without and make sure you have the right policy for your needs at the best price. You can use the government site privatehealth.gov.au or a comparison site such as iselect.com.au or canstar.com.au.
You may be able to save by using one provider for hospital cover and a different one for extras, or if you're a couple separate singles cover rather than couples cover could be cheaper.