How to switch health insurance: Step-by-step

Find out exactly how to switch health insurance and get a better policy for your needs. Plus, tips on avoiding gaps in your cover ahead of the switching process.

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Whether you're fed up with annual premium hikes or your life circumstances have changed, now might be the right time to switch health insurance. And you'll want to feel assured that you're doing so without losing the benefits and good reputation you've built up. Let's take a look.

Switching health insurance, step-by-step

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Do your research

Find a new policy. This takes a little time, but we can help. You can start looking for the best health insurance for you here.

Buy policy

Sign up for a policy

Sign up for the new policy. You new provider will ask you about your existing cover and handle all the back-end administration.

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Check with your old fund

You probably won't need to cancel your old cover, but it's a good idea to doubel check so that you aren't charged twice.

Switch health insurance with these sign-up deal for January 2022

One of the best things about switching health insurance providers is that you may be eligible for some sweet sign-up deals! As long as you're a new customer to the new provider, any sign-up deal should apply to you. Here are a few live deals from Finder partners.

Store Discount
ahm Dealsahm Deals
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Want up to $200 off? Or up to $100 for singles & single parents?

New joins on hospital & extras by Jan 31. Find out how.

Last verified

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Coupon code ends

Want up to $500 worth of gift cards?

Offer for new members ends 28 February. T&Cs apply. Learn more.

Last verified

VERIFIED

Coupon code ends

Get 6 weeks free + Waive 2 & 6 months waiting periods

Join hospital only or combined hospital & extras cover by 31 January 2022 for new members.

Last verified

Exclusive

Coupon code ends

Get $100 gift card + 10% off on extras premium (with combined cover)

Join hospital only or combined hospital & extras cover for new members. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal
VERIFIED

Join and earn up to 100,000 Qantas Points*

*Eligibility criteria and T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal
VERIFIED

Deal ends

3 benefits of switching your health insurance fund

Deal

Sign-up deals

Health insurance sign-up deals are available to people switching providers, as long as you're a new customer to the fresh provider.

Quick

Quick and easy

Switching health insurance providers is easy - just sign up with the new provider. The new provider will sort it all out for you.

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No extra waiting periods

Any waiting periods you've already served will transfer to your new provider, as long as the coverage level is the same.

4 things to know about switching cover

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You won't re-serve waiting periods for hospital treatments.

If you're increasing your cover level, you might need to serve new waiting periods. For example, if your new policy covers pregnancy but your old one didn't, you'll have to wait 12 months. The portability guarantee does not apply to extras, so your new insurer could make you wait again. But since they want your business, most insurers will honour your previous waits.

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Make sure you're not paying double.

Your new fund should cancel your old cover, but it's worth checking in just in case. Health insurance premiums are usually billed a month in advance. Follow the process correctly and the old insurer will reimburse you for any overpayment if you're switching in the middle of your month.

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Weigh up what your loyalty bonuses are actually worth.

Your health fund will definitely try to keep you. Enter loyalty bonuses: little perks that you can accrue the longer you stay. Your new insurer isn't required to honour these, but feel free to ask. Plus most insurers will offer sweet sign-on bonuses.

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You have the right to change your mind.

Health funds will refund your money if you change your mind and cancel your policy within the first 30 days of signing up.

Tips for switching health insurance policies

Reconsider what you need. Maybe you're switching from your parent's policy, or it's been years since you last reviewed your cover. Loads of people are paying for a higher level of cover than they need to.

Don't just go for a combined policy. Many people assume that a hospital + extras plan from a single brand will be cheaper - not true! You can often save quite a bit by getting separate hospital and extras policies from 2 brands.

Don't fret about waiting periods. If you're worried that you'll need to wait another 2-12 months before your benefits kick in, don't! If you're switching and you've already served your waiting period, it will carry over.

Make the most from your extras. By picking the right extras policy, you can easily make your money back from the amount you save. Plus, if you've used up all your extras, you can just switch and start your benefits over again.

Watch out for couples policies. If you have a shared health policy, be wary of paying more than you need to - e.g. paying for pregnancy for both members. It usually makes sense for each of you to get a policy that works for you.

31 isn't a magic number. Many people think that turning 31 will increase their taxes - but that isn't it. The LHC is the extra amount you'd pay per year if you don't get health insurance. It doesn't affect switching in any way.

Older policies CAN be better - or cheaper. If your policy is older than ten years or more, there's a good chance that you're paying less for your policy than anything available these days. Consider holding on to it - unless you need a new level of cover or you want to add someone else on.

Overseas visitors need a special policy. Buying a standard policy won't cut it if you're on a visa or just visiting. You'll need to purchase an Overseas Visitors Health Insurance (OVHC) plan in order to be covered for Australian health services.

Should you switch policies after having a baby?

Your pregnancy benefits will cover your birth and related services, but if you want your baby covered beyond that point, you'll need to upgrade to a family policy. This could be a good time to switch.

Most insurers will back-date your baby's coverage to the date of birth and credit them with any waiting periods you (the primary policyholder) have already served, but only if you add them to the policy within a certain amount of time. This time frame could be as short as 2 months if you're currently on a singles/couples policy or as long as 4 years if you already have a family policy.

How to get a better policy

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Identify your reasons for wanting to switch

Want a cheaper cover to avoid tax? Are you looking for better value for your money? Are you looking to add services like pregnancy or dental? Is your family expanding? Your answer will help guide your search.

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Compare your options

You can now start considering options. Use our health insurance tool to conveniently compare policies side-by-side. Call insurers if you have any questions, and check out their product disclosure statements (PDS) for policy details.

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Look for intangibles

When narrowing your options, see who goes the extra mile. Who's willing to honour your old loyalty bonuses or extras waiting periods? Who offers wellness programs and health-related discounts on products and services? Who has a good reputation online?

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Consider negotiating with your current insurer

Your current insurer may be willing to offer you a discount or other perks if you mention that you've found a better deal elsewhere. Worst case scenario, they say no and you take the better deal.

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Get it in writing

If your new insurer made any promises that aren't outlined in the PDS, get those in writing. This can include an agreement to honour your extras waiting period, an agreement to honour past loyalty bonuses or any discounts and perks offered during negotiation.

When is the best time to switch?

The best time to switch is when your life circumstances require it or you haven't reviewed your current policy for a while. However, health insurers often offer sign up incentives throughout the year so it's always worth and offers that may be available. It's also worth reviewing your price rise every April 1 to see if you're still getting value for money from your current policy.

Frequently asked questions

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