Want to avoid health insurance price hikes? Act fast.
If your health insurer hasn't increased its prices yet, you still have time to get around them. Here's how.
Earlier this year, many health funds confirmed they would be delaying price hikes until October or November. Now, as that deadline approaches, Australians are being urged to take action.
"There is still time to avoid the price increases if you're able to pay for next year's policy in advance," said Finder health insurance expert Gary Ross Hunter.
"Depending on the type of policy you have, you could end up saving hundreds of dollars a year. But you'll have to move fast, many brands are putting pieces up on October 1."
AAMI, Bupa, NIB, Suncorp and Qantas are among the brands raising prices on October 1. Australian Unity and Navy Health have delayed their price increases until November 1.
How much are premiums going up in 2023?
Across all health funds, the average price increase is 2.9%. The highest increase (5.38%) was made by CBHS Corporate back in April.
While these figures seem minor, it could mean hundreds of dollars in additional premiums for some families. However, there are ways to save.
Pre-pay your premiums
If you're able to pre-pay for your health insurance, you can lock in an entire year's policy at last year's rates. Not all insurers allow this, so check with yours to see if it's possible.
In addition to locking in last year's price, some brands offer an additional discount if you pay in advance. HBF offers customers up to 2 weeks free cover per year if they pay a year ahead.
Revisit your cover
Finder data for NSW shows the average cost of gold-tier health insurance is $212 a month. This includes cover for all 38 clinical categories including pregnancy, childbirth, weight loss surgery.
But, if you drop down to silver tier insurance, the average price is just $146 a month and you'd still be covered for at least 26 clinical categories - in some cases, more. Over the course of a year, that's a potential saving of almost $800.
Luke Connelly, Professor of Health Economics at the University of Queensland Business, Economics & Law Faculty, said that Australians should revisit their cover as their personal needs evolve.
"For younger people who are considering starting a family, it may be worthwhile to hold a fairly generous private health insurance policy, especially for the period when you may fall pregnant," he told Finder.
"After your child is born healthy, [you may want to] reconsider the need to have private health insurance at all, or whether you can reduce your level of cover."
If you don't want to change the level of your policy but you're unhappy with the price, consider looking elsewhere. Policies vary in price between brands so you could find a better deal.
For example, NSW has a monthly average of $212 for gold-tier insurance, but the cheapest gold-tier policy available was $153. Over the course of a year, that's a saving of over $700.
How much is your fund increasing in 2023?
|Active Private health insurer||2023|
|ACA Health Benefits Fund Limited||3.92%|
|AIA Health Insurance||1.69%|
|Australian Unity Health Limited||3.76%|
|BUPA HI Pty Ltd||3.39%|
|CBHS Corporate Health Pty Ltd||5.38%|
|CBHS Health Fund Limited||4.46%|
|Cessnock District Health Benefits Fund Limited||3.93%|
|Defence Health Limited||3.48%|
|Doctors' Health Fund Pty Ltd||2.15%|
|HBF Health Limited||4.49%|
|Health Care Insurance Ltd||-0.09%|
|Health Insurance Fund of Australia Limited||3.10%|
|Health Partners Limited||2.93%|
|Hospitals Contribution Fund of Australia Ltd||3.33%|
|Latrobe Health Services Limited||2.15%|
|Medibank Private Limited||2.96%|
|Mildura District Hospital Fund Ltd||2.48%|
|National Health Benefits Australia Pty Ltd||2.86%|
|Navy Health Ltd||2.94%|
|NIB Health Funds Ltd||2.72%|
|Peoplecare Health Limited||2.79%|
|Phoenix Health Fund Limited||3.66%|
|Police Health Limited||0.00%|
|Queensland Country Health Fund Ltd||3.17%|
|Queensland Teachers' Union Health Fund Limited||0.81%|
|Reserve Bank Health Society Ltd||3.18%|
|St Luke's Medical and Hospital Benefits Association||2.86%|
|Teachers Federation Health Ltd||2.50%|
|Transport Health Pty Ltd||2.49%|
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