How to save on cover if you can’t escape the rate rise

Richard Laycock 21 March 2017

Young smiling couple about to buy a health insurance policy

If you can't beat the rate rise, what should you be looking for?

With 10 days to go before health insurance premiums jump by an average of 4.84% on 1 April 2017, time is running out to lock in your premiums.

However, many Australians are unable to prepay a full year's worth of health insurance premiums upfront and won't be able to protect their current rate. But all is not lost.

While you may not be able to benefit from the major savings of prepaying your next year's premiums before the premium increase on 1 April, you may be able to find yourself savings elsewhere.

One option available to those who are not able to fork out a full year's worth of premiums is simply setting up a direct debit. While this may seem to some like an obvious payment solution, many people are not aware that some health funds incentivise this payment option and offer a discount of anywhere between 2% and 4% on your health insurance premiums if you choose this option.

Another way you can save is by reviewing the various deals, discounts and special offers available to members switching their health fund in March. These deals include anything from extra flybuys points and premium waivers to Visa gift cards and waived waiting periods.

If all else fails, get on the phone or open a web chat session and ask the salesperson if they can offer you a deal. While a health fund may not have any special deals advertised, some sales agents may have access to discretionary offers. It never hurts to ask.

Before switching funds, you should ask yourself what is important to you. If there is a certain extra that you claim for regularly, check which fund pays the highest rebate for that extra rather than sticking with a fund that isn't meeting your needs. You should also find out what percentage of the contributions the fund receives are returned in the form of benefits to members.

Another great way to assess a potential health fund is to review how the insurance provider has performed over time. Check how much your fund's premiums have gone up over the last seven years and see how it compares to the rest of the market.

If you combine the savings from the tips above, you may be able to offset your premium increase. Compare your options today.

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