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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.
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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.
Questions you still might have
Can I switch health insurance while I'm pregnant?
Yes, but portability rules still apply. If your old and your new policies both include pregnancy cover, you'll receive credit for any waiting periods you've already served (and will need to serve the remainder if necessary). If your old policy didn't include pregnancy cover and your new one does, you'll have to start from scratch. A typical waiting period for pregnancy cover is 12 months.
What happens if I downgrade my policy during a switch?
If your life circumstances call for a downgrade in coverage, by all means switch. Just make sure you keep enough cover to avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge, a tax placed on high-income earners who don't have enough private health insurance.
What happens if I cancel my existing policy before switching my health insurance?
Your portability guarantee lasts for 7 days, so don't wait too long or you risk having to re-serve all your waiting periods. Any gaps in your cover can also affect your Lifetime Health Cover, a loading that increases your future premiums by 2% each year you go without health insurance. After 1,094 non-consecutive days without health insurance, your loading will start over again.
What if I'm locked into my current policy?
The whole point of portability is to give you the freedom to switch insurers whenever you want. That means there is no such thing as being "locked in". It's possible to negotiate a discount in return for paying your entire annual premium in one up-front sum. If you've done that with your old insurer, they are obligated to refund any unused premium when you switch, but you may have to pay back any discount you received.
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