Health insurance premiums rise tomorrow

Richard Laycock 31 March 2019 NEWS

Woman sitting at her desk looking at computer Image: Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

From 1 April health insurance premiums go up by an average of 3.25%.

Today is your last chance to lock in your health insurance premiums at their current rate before prices rise by an average of 3.25% tomorrow.

Every year, thousands of Aussies look at the 1 Apil deadline as a chance to review their policies, that is to either stay with their current fund or switch to a new fund but with the aim of paying the next year's premium upfront so as to avoid that year's premium increase.

Unfortunately, 2019 is making things a little more difficult for those wanting to test the health insurance market, with a range of reforms coming into effect on the same day. One of the biggest changes will be to hospital cover, which will now have a tiered system of gold, silver, bronze and basic cover. These new tiers mean that policies will need to meet a minimum standard to make it into each class and as such some policies that exist on 31 March will no longer be available come 1 April.

While there is some uncertainty about tiers and what a policy may cover from 1 April 2019, you still may benefit from locking in your premiums before the deadline whether you're staying with your current fund or if you're switching. What you need to remember is:

  • Health insurance is not a lock-in contract. If you switch before the deadline or stay with your current fund, there's nothing stopping you from reassessing your options once more information is made available. Health insurance is not a lock-in contract and you're free to switch funds whenever.
  • Cooling off periods. Most health funds offer a 30 day cooling off period, meaning that if you switch to a new fund and decide within that timeframe that it's not right for you, you're entitled to a full refund provided you haven't made any claims.
  • Waiting periods are transferrable. Concerned about re-serving waiting periods? Don't be. Once you've served your waiting period with one fund it's transferable to the next.
  • Premium refund. If you do decide to cancel your policy, most health funds will refund you any unused or excess premiums – sometimes less an administration fee. This is especially of note to those looking to prepay their premiums before 1 April.

If you do decide to switch before 1 April, be sure to check out the deals and discounts on offer from Aussie health funds this time of year.

Switch in March and take advantage of these deals*

Fund Deal End date
ACA Get 4 weeks free membership with any combined hospital and extras policy. 30 April 2019
ahm Get 1 month free, plus 2- and 6-month waiting periods on extras waived when you take out a combined hospital and extras policy. 31 March 2019
CBHS (Restricted fund) Get 1 month free, a $100 eGift card and 2- and 6-month waiting periods on extras waived when you take out a combined hospital and extras policy. 31 March 2019
CUA Health Take out health insurance and score a gift card worth up to $500. Go into the running for $10,000 just for getting a quote and get a 4% discount just for using direct debit. 31 March 2019
Frank Take out a combined policy and get 1 month free. 11 April 2019
GMHBA Get a Fitbit Charge 3 when taking out a combined policy. 12 April 2019
Health Partners Take out a combined hospital and extras policy and get a $100 Eftpos card. 31 March 2019
health.com.au Get 4 weeks free membership with any combined hospital and extras policy. 31 March 2019
HIF HIF is giving away a limited edition HIF gift with every combined hospital and extras policy. 30 April 2019
Kogan Health Insurance Get 1 month free, a $60 Kogan.com credit and 2- and 6-month waiting periods on extras waived when you take out a combined hospital and extras policy. 31 March 2019
Medibank Get 1 month free, plus 2- and 6-month waiting periods on extras waived when you take out a combined hospital and extras policy. NA
MyOwn Health Get 6 weeks free cover, plus an additional 2 weeks off your second year's premiums when you take out an eligible policy. 31 March 2019
NIB Get 1 month free, plus 2- and 6-month waiting periods on extras waived when you take out a combined hospital and extras policy. 31 March 2019
RT Health Take out cover and go into the draw to win an iPhone Xs. 31 March 2019
Teachers Health Get 6 weeks free membership with any combined hospital and extras policy. 31 March 2019
Uni Health Get 6 weeks free membership with any combined hospital and extras policy. 31 March 2019
Westfund Take out any hospital, extras or combined policy and get 1 month free. 31 March 2019

* Not all deals are available through comparison services. Other terms and conditions may apply. Last modified 5 March 2019.

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