The health insurance hack that could save you hundreds

Richard Laycock 14 March 2018 NEWS

Happy couple on laptop

Reminder: Only two weeks until health insurance premiums go up.

We're fast approaching the midpoint of March, which means you've only got about two weeks to lock in your health insurance premiums before they go up by an industry average 3.95% on 1 April 2018.

If you take out health insurance or switch to a new fund before this date, you can beat the price rise by prepaying your premiums for the next year. This is great for two reasons.

First and most obvious, is that you'll be paying for your insurance before prices go up, duh. The second reason is something only savvy buyers know.

If you prepay your health insurance premiums before 1 April not only will you skip the 3.95% increase, you can also benefit from an annual payment discount. Currently, there are two open membership funds offering this benefit: Australian Unity and HIF. There are also two restricted funds offering this discount: Doctors' Health and Navy Health.

How much can you save?

Let's say you want to switch your policy from Health Care Insurance, where premiums are going up an average 8.9% (the most of any fund in 2018), to HIF.

Last week we calculated that from 1 April, the average premium for a single hospital policy with Health Care Insurance would rise by $206.81, from $2,323.68 in 2017 to $2,530.49 in 2018*.

Not only will you be able to save $457.73 just by locking in cover with HIF at a lower rate – the average 2017 policy cost $2,072.76 – you will be able to save an additional 4% by paying for your policy upfront. This all comes to a saving of $540.64.

How we calculated this

2018 Health Care Insurance premium - (2017 HIF premium - 4% annual discount) = Savings

$2,530.49 - ($2,072.76 - ($2,072.76/100x4)) = $540.64

Annual discounts aren't the only type of payment discount available, other funds reward members for paying via direct debit. You can review which funds offer these benefits in the table below.

Fund Direct debit discount Annual payment discount
n/a
  • Annual: 4%
  • Biannual: 2%
4%
n/a
n/a
  • Annual: 2.5%
2%
n/a
4%
n/a
  • Annual: 4%
  • Biannual: 2%
  • Annual: 4%
  • Biannual: 2%
2.5%
n/a
n/a
  • Annual: 4%
  • Biannual: 2%
4%
n/a
  • 2.5% (debit cards)
  • 1.5% (credit cards)
n/a

Your savings don't necessarily have to come from payment discounts either. Other funds offer promotions such as bonus gift cards or frequent flyer points. Make sure you've compared all your options before switching to ensure you're getting the best deal.

Review your health insurance before 1 April and see if you can save

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Picture: Shutterstock

*Disclaimer

The average cost for a single hospital policy for each fund, regardless of state, age or level of cover. Annual premium increases reflect the average increase for that fund and may differ from the amount your premiums are going up. Results are for illustrative purposes only. You can review the full table here.

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