Five ways to save on health insurance before April 1 price hike
Health insurance premiums are set to go up by an average of 2.74% on April 1, costing families an estimated $126 more per year. For many, the increase will be even larger — some insurers plan to raise their premiums by as much as 5.47%.
Luckily, there are ways you can avoid paying more. Taylor Blackburn, insurance specialist at Finder, says that now is the time to compare health policies. "Switching to a better deal on your health insurance could save you over $500 per year in some cases - that's a pretty easy way to pad your pocket."
"With insurance premiums increasing on April 1, now is the time to start looking if you want to take out an affordable policy before the deadline," Blackburn says. So before April 1 arrives, here are five very simple ways you can save on private health insurance premiums.
1. See how much your provider plans to increase premiums
The easiest way to save on your private health insurance is to find out how much your provider plans to increase their premiums on April 1, then simply switch to a cheaper provider. You can see how much your health insurance provider plans to increase their premiums here.
Some providers plan to increase by 5.47%; others will only raise their prices by 0.5%, so there's plenty of opportunities to save.
If you switch to a similar level of cover, you won't lose any of the benefits you're currently entitled to and you usually won't have to re-serve waiting periods either.
2. Review your hospital and extras cover
Hospital insurance is split into four tiers: basic, bronze, silver and gold. Now is the ideal time to look back and see what benefits you've used in the past 12 months. If you're on a top tier policy that includes lots of treatments you're unlikely to need in the next year, you could save by dropping down to a more basic policy. That way, you're getting better value for your money and can still avoid paying the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS).
Do the same for your extras policy. Login to your health fund's app or account, find out how much you've actually claimed, and consider ditching certain benefits if you haven't used them.
3. Shop around
Shopping for health insurance may not be the most fun way to spend your time, but it generally only takes a few minutes to compare and find out if you're getting a good deal or not.
Even if you want the same level of cover, you could save around $30 a month by switching, leaving you $360 a year better off.
4. Get rid of the couple's policy
A couple's policy might save you on paperwork but it usually doesn't save you any money — in fact, it often costs more. That's because, with separate policies, you can tailor your health insurance to your specific needs. For example, you may not need pregnancy cover, so you don't need to be paying for that benefit.
In many cases, you can also receive better value by mixing and matching your hospital and extras cover rather than taking out a combined policy.
5. Take advantage of discounts
By switching insurers, you often get access to sign-up deals, like a free month of cover, gift cards and in some cases, Qantas frequent flyer points.
Your current premiums may be similar to other health providers, but if that health fund is also offering free cover and discounts, you'll end up better off in the first year. When your discounts end, nothing is stopping you from taking advantage of another provider's sign-up perks by switching again.