Health insurance costs rise from April 1: 5 ways to save
Avoid paying hundreds more a year by following these simple steps.
On April 1, health insurance premiums are set to increase by an average of 2.74% and in some cases as much as 5.47%, costing families around $126 more a year.
But you don't need to pay more for the exact same product — there are plenty of really easy ways to cut costs, and none of them take more than a few minutes to do. Taylor Blackburn, insurance specialist at Finder, says that "Switching to a better deal on your health insurance could save you over $500 per year in some cases." Here are 5 ways you can avoid paying more for your private health insurance premiums.
1. Compare your premium increase with other health funds
We've put together a list of how much every health fund plans to increase its premiums on April 1. The largest price hike is 5.47% but there are some who will only increase their premiums by 0.5%.
If your provider is hiking up their prices, you might be able to pay less by switching to a provider that's only slightly increasing their premiums. In most cases, you won't have to re-serve waiting periods if you switch to a policy with a similar level of cover.
2. Change tiers
There are four tiers for hospital insurance: basic, bronze, silver and gold. Dropping down a level could save you hundreds per year. Remember though, you won't have cover for as many treatments, so only consider changing if you are unlikely to need them.
You can do the same if you also have extras cover. Look at the benefits you've used and consider dropping to a more basic policy so you're only paying for what you need.
3. Compare policies
Fortunately, it really doesn't take long to compare policies and find a much cheaper deal. Finder's online tool lets you compare health insurance policies side by side so you can see what benefits you're getting and how much a policy costs. You can stay on the same tier of cover and save as much as $30 a month by doing this.
The Finder app is another handy tool that can look at what you're paying and suggest where you could switch and save money.
4. Mix and match your hospital and extras policy
A combined policy might be convenient but it often doesn't save you any money. If you get standalone hospital and extras policies you can tailor both to your specific needs. With combined cover, you often pay for benefits that you never use or need.
It's a similar situation with couple's policies. For example, one of you may not need ear, nose and throat cover, but you're both paying for it with a couple's policy.
5. Look for discounts
Health insurers regularly offer sign-up discounts ranging from a free month of cover to points on your Qantas card. It's often worth switching to a different provider with a similar level of cover simply because they're offering a good discount.
If you're between 18 and 29, you can also save up to 10% on your hospital insurance as well. Most will ask you your age when you sign up and calculate the discount there and then.