If you are like many Aussies, you’re probably feeling a bit overwhelmed by the barrage of media activity discussing the health cover rate rise, which took effect on 1 April. With the average premium rise this year sitting at 5.59% across all funds, we asked Jayn O’Driscoll from health insurance comparison site Choosewell to share her advice around avoiding this high cost.
It’s safe to say that Aussies across the country love value for money, but we’re often guilty of ignoring the more mundane of our expenses. Like when was the last time you thought about your hospital cover? It’s a regular cost coming straight out of the bank account every month, but it’s not something Australians review very often if at all. Some even just choose the family fund and don’t even consider their other options.
Regardless of your current situation, if you’re earning a decent income or you’re over 31 (or both), private hospital cover is a necessity. Aside from the fact that you’re covered in an emergency, for those over 31 it makes a lot of sense at tax time.
April alarm clock
Whether the average rate rise goes up 5% or 7% each year, there’s no denying that health cover is growing more and more expensive. The premium rise affects over 13 million Australians with private health insurance, as well as those looking to purchase health cover for the first time around the April increase.
There is a silver lining to the rate rise – it’s a great time to be proactive about your health insurance and make sure it’s giving you the best value for money. Use April as an alarm clock to have a glance over your cover and ensure that it is still relevant to your situation, and that you’re getting a good deal from your health fund.
How to get the best deal
If you find that your health insurance no longer provides you with the cover you need, here are a few tips to keep in mind to help you track down the best policy for you:
1. Consider your needs
Whether you’re an individual, couple or family, your health cover needs will change throughout your life. Maybe you need extras cover to help pay for an active lifestyle or perhaps your children are in need of orthodontic care (braces). It’s not essential to change your health cover every year, but it’s important to give it some serious thought to make sure you’re not paying for products you no longer need.
2. Compare insurance
One of the easiest ways to check if your health insurance policy is offering you the best cover at the lowest price is by using a free comparison service. These websites allow you to input your current fund and compare exact product offerings to other funds.
It could be that you’re in the best place, or maybe you could get better value somewhere else. Curiosity is your greatest asset in the world of private health insurance.
3. Talk about it
A free comparison website will typically provide consultants who can answer your questions and provide valuable advice in the tricky world of private health cover. You can also speak with your friends and family to gain insight into how they manage their health cover. You never know where valuable insight will come from.
4. Mix it up
Did you know you can split your hospital cover and extras cover between different funds? This can open up new services to better suit your lifestyle and it can save you money every month.
The important thing to remember is that over time your situation will change; you have kids, you have injuries, your kids grow up, you retire, etc – so your health insurance should change to reflect this.
Bonus health insurance tip:
Are you over 31? Do you earn a high income? There are ways to reduce your tax by having the right cover to satisfy new government initiatives that are aimed at relieving stress on the public health system. Learn about the government’s Private Health Insurance Rebate, Medicare Surcharge Levy and Lifetime Health Cover policies to ensure you aren’t overpaying at tax time.