Who doesn't want a little something extra? Find out what discounts and benefits are available with your health insurance membership.
With the cost of health cover rising every year, finding ways to reduce your premiums makes good financial sense. One way to do this is by finding a fund that offers discounts and incentives to its members.
This guide compares the extra benefits and health insurance discounts offered by six well-known health funds and provides tips on how you can save even more on your health insurance.
Join GMHBA on combined cover before 30 November and receive a debit gift card for $200 for families and $100 for singles. Simply organise your payments through direct debits and pay your first month to receive your gift card.
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- Join and commence an eligible AHM hospital & extras cover from 12 September to 12 October 2016 and you won’t have to serve the usual two and six month extras waiting periods – so you can claim straight away on most extras services. Conditions apply.
AHM (by Medibank Private) offers its members a loyalty incentive when they take out one of its Black+White Flexi Packages for hospital and extras cover. The premise is simple: The longer you’re a member, the more your annual extras limit increases.
For example, the Black+White Deluxe Flexi Package has a claim limit for included extras of $1,100 in the first year of your membership, and this increases every year by $100 to reach $1,500 after five years.
Your membership must be continuous during this time, and you must be eligible for the Australian Government Rebate and have no Lifetime Health Cover loading.
AHM have on-again/off-again specials with Specsavers. ahm members can get 25% off a single pair of glasses from the $149 range or above.
Australian Unity offers its members a range of discounts and incentives including:
- 7.5% off health cover if you’re an NRMA member
- Discounted contact lenses when you buy online from Eyecare Advantage
- 25% off glasses at Eyecare Advantage for Australian Unity members
- Discounts on gym memberships, fitness equipment, health food and supplements, travel accessories, accommodation and entertainment through the Wellplan Rewards program
- $100 gift card for recommending someone who takes out Australian Unity Hospital, Hospital & Extras or Overseas Visitors health cover
- No Gap Dental service offers members on eligible covers preventative dental treatment at no out-of pocket cost
GMHBA also offers a variety of discounts and member rewards including:
- One month free cover. Join GMHBA on a combined cover during September 2016, organise your payments by direct debit and you'll receive your second month free. Conditions apply.
- Connect Rewards Plus. Connect Rewards Plus allows members to accumulate Connect Rewards dollars year by year, which can be used to reduce or eliminate out-of-pocket expenses on hospital and extras cover once annual limits have been reached.
- Fit Rewards Loyalty Program. The Fit Rewards Loyalty Program gives Fit package members access to a range of sporting rewards by earning points through participation in healthy activities.
- Direct debit payment. You can save 2% on your premiums by having them direct debited from your bank, credit union or building society.
HCF members enjoy the following discounts and benefits:
- More for Teeth. Get 100% back on a range of diagnostic and preventative dental services at HCF Dental Centres.
- More for Eyes. Receive 100% back on one pair of prescription glasses per year and one free digital retinal image per year at HCF Eyecare Centres.
- More for Muscles. You’ll get 100% back on one initial physiotherapy consultation per year at participating physiotherapists.
- More for Backs. Receive 100% back on one initial chiropractic or osteopathic consultation per year at participating chiropractors and osteopaths.
- More for Feet. You can get 100% back on one initial podiatry consultation per year at participating podiatrists.
- More for Hearing. Take advantage of 100% refund or reduction in the cost of hearing aids from a participating hearing aid provider.
- Travel insurance. HCF members get a 10% discount on travel insurance.
- Loyalty benefits. For every year you stay with HCF, you’ll get an increase on your extras benefits limit.
- Fitness First discount. Get 10% off 3-month and 12-month Platinum or Passport memberships at Fitness First gyms.
- Pet insurance. HCF members get a10% discount on pet insurance.
- Fitness programs. Claim for a range of HCF-approved health and fitness programs with some extras cover policies.
NIB provides the following discounts and incentives for its members:
- Waived waiting periods. Join and commence an NIB combined hospital and extras cover in September 2016 and you won't have to serve the usual two and six extras waiting periods - so you can claim straight away on most extras services. Conditions apply.
- NIB Eye Care. Get 100% back on a selected range of prescription glasses and approved brands of contact lenses through NIB Eye Care.
- NIB Eye Care Centre discount. Members get a 20% storewide discount at any NIB Eye Care Centre.
- Travel insurance. Save 10% on travel insurance if you’re an NIB health cover member.
- Gym memberships. Claim gym membership and weight management program fees with selected health cover plans.
- Dental check-ups. Get 100% back on dental check-ups at participating Dental Care Centres.
Transport Health offers its members a 30% discount on travel insurance when they apply online with QBE. It also allows members to claim on a diverse range of treatments and services if they have Top Extras cover, including:
- Emergency ambulance transportation. Get a refund of 100% of the fee charged.
- General dental, major dental and orthodontics. Get 100% back on dental.
- Optical: Get 100% back on optical up to your policy limits at Specsavers.
- Physiotherapy. Get 100% back on physiotherapy at Primary Physio Centres. One "no gap" initial consultation per year per person and up to $55 back for consultations.
Government incentives for health insurance
Apart from member discounts and benefits, other ways to save on your health insurance costs include:
- Avoid the Lifetime Health Cover loading. Purchase your health cover early in life to avoid the Lifetime Health Cover loading. This is a 2% loading added to the cost of private health cover for every year past your 31st birthday that you don’t have adequate private hospital cover.
- Avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge. An additional tax of between 1% and 1.5% is levied on those who earn above a certain income and don’t have adequate private hospital cover. The current minimum income is $90,000 for individuals and $180,000 for families.
- Make sure you get the Private Health Insurance rebate. This is a government rebate based on age and income, available to anyone with private health cover.
Money-saving tips for health insurance
Continuing with the theme of reducing your health insurance premiums, here are some general tips that can help you save money:
- Pay upfront. Pay your premium annually rather than monthly to avoid administration fees. Some insurers may even offer you a discounted premium.
- Pay early. Pay before 31 March so you can lock in your cover at this year’s price and delay the annual increase for a year.
- Pay by direct debit. Some funds will give you a discount of up to 4% if you pay by direct debit.
- Pay a higher excess. Increase your excess if you can afford it, as this will reduce your premium.
- Pay for cover you need. Only pay for extras cover you are likely to use.
- Pay for exclusivity. Join a restricted membership health fund if you are eligible, as the policies can be substantially cheaper.
Yet another way you could save on your health insurance is to look into whether you qualify for a corporate discount. Health insurers often provide discounts to the corporate sector of up to 12%, which means companies are able to pass the savings on to their employees and customers in the form of cheaper policies.
Examples where corporate discounts may apply include health insurance offered through your employer, your super fund, any associations or clubs you belong to, and through your credit union or mutual bank.
Single parent discount
If you’re a single parent, make sure you’re not paying the full family rate for your health insurance, which can be double that of a single.
Health insurance funds have been allowed to provide single parents with a reduced premium compared to the family rate since 2007. If your insurer won’t offer a reduced rate, consider moving to another provider that does.
Many health insurers offer incentives for families, such as:
- No excess for children needing hospitalisation
- Selected extras provided gap-free for children, such as general dental check-ups and preventative treatments
- The option to cover your children under your family policy until they are 25 years old (normally only covered up to 21, or up to 25 if studying full time)
If your family policy doesn’t provide you with these additional benefits, consider shopping around for one that does.
Apply for health insurance and save
With premiums rising an average of 6% a year, private health insurance is becoming increasingly unaffordable for many people. Hopefully, this guide has shown you some of the ways you can reduce your premiums and continue to provide quality health cover for you and your family.
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