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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.

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 double check so that you aren't charged twice.

Switch health insurance with these sign-up deal for December 2023

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.

1 - 6 of 6
Name Product

Get 6 weeks free on eligible combined Hospital and Extras cover

Domestic policies only. Terms and Conditions apply.


Get up to $200 cash card. PLUS 2-month waits on extras waived

Ends 31 January 2024

Offer applies for new joins on hospital and extras by 31 January. T&Cs apply.


Join and earn up to 100,000 Qantas Points

Ends 29 January 2024

Plus, get 60-75% back on Extras (up to your annual limit) for things like dental, physio and glasses costs. Eligibility criteria and T&Cs apply.


Get up to 8 weeks free?

Ends 13 December 2023

For new joins by Dec 13 who maintain eligible combined hospital & extras. T&Cs apply. Learn more.


Get 6 weeks free extras cover

Ends 13 December 2023

For new joins by Dec 13. Offer applied after 60 days on extras-only cover. Find out how.


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

Ends 31 December 2023

Join combined hospital & extras cover by 31 December 2023 for new members. T&Cs apply.

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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.

Why you can trust Finder's health insurance experts

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We're free

Our health insurance engine is completely free to use. You pay the same as buying directly from the health insurer. Better still, we regularly run exclusive deals that you won't find on any other site.
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Unlike other comparison sites, we're not owned by an insurer. That means our opinions are our own and you can compare nearly every health fund in Australia on the site (and find a better deal).
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Since 2014, we've helped 350,000+ people find health insurance by explaining your options simply. We'll never ask for your number or email to see prices. We're here to help you make a decision.

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