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1 in 2 waste their health insurance extras: What can you do?


New research shows most Australians are failing to use all their extras.

Ever feel like your health insurance doesn't offer enough bang for your buck? You're in good company.

54% of Australians who hold extras cover don't use their benefit limits in full.

That's 7.82 million people wasting money that could otherwise be claimed against dental, optical and more.

Policyholders scramble to use benefits

What's behind the findings of Finder's nationally representative survey?

According to John Connor, founder of insurance startup ExtrasJar, the way health funds set up their extras benefits aren't friendly to consumers.

"Major funds have set up benefits like gift vouchers, which they hope you'll forget to use in time," said Connor, whose company lets its customer roll benefits over from one year to another.

Problems can also arise from policyholders all scrambling to make appointments before their benefits expire at the year's end.

It can place "undue pressure" on the healthcare system, Connor added.

When do my benefits reset? ahm, Peoplecare and Defence Health typically reset their extras after June. However, ahm has contacted its customers to let them know they can use any unclaimed benefit limits for a further year after 1 July. Most health funds on the market reset their benefit limits on 1 January each year. Read more on how annual benefit limits work.

3 ways to avoid wasting your extras

If you often struggle to hit your benefit limits, there are a few things you can do.

Tim Bennett, Finder health insurance expert, shares his top tips on extras cover:

Number 1 Get organised

Book in those appointments as soon as possible after your extras limits reset – be that for eye tests, contact lens checks or anything else. This'll give you a long runway for claiming money back.

It isn't just services you can make benefits claims against. Some funds let you claim back for Cancer Council-approved sunscreen, sunglasses and hats. There's no harm getting ahead of the game in winter.

Number 2 Find a no-waiting period deal

Here's an easy way to get more organised: skip your policy's waiting periods. This means you can make claims right away.

ahm is currently offering 12 weeks free on combined hospital and extras cover. This deal lets you skip 2- and 6-month waiting periods.

Meanwhile, Bupa's offering up to 10 weeks of free coverage with 2- and 6- month waits waived on some plans.

Each of these deals are for new customers and expire after 30 June.

Number 3 Look into flexible extras

Recently, health funds have moved to adapt their extras cover to be more flexible.

For example, Bupa FLEXtras lets you choose either 4 or 6 extras services, meaning you can be more targeted and lower the chance you'll have a bunch of services you simply won't use.

Elsewhere HBF offers a Flex 50 plan, which gives you a flat rate of $800 to use however you like across 12 different services.

See more health insurance deals and sign-up offers for June 2023.

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