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‘ACT NOW’: Aussies have 2 days to use up to $810

·2-min read
People walk the streets of Sydney and a person removing $50 notes from a wallet.
Many private health insurers reset their extras benefits on 1 January. (Source: Getty)

If you have health insurance extras, it is time to use it or lose it, because health funds - including Bupa Medibank, HCF, HBF and NIB - reset their extras benefits on 1 January.

Consumer advocacy group CHOICE recently warned Australians with health insurance extras that they may be about to waste thousands of dollars.

"COVID-19 put many parts of the country in lockdown throughout 2021. That means a significant number of Australians won't have been able to get as much out of their extras as they usually would,” CHOICE health insurance expert, Uta Mihm said.

“You may have put off a dental check, missed a couple of physio sessions or not picked up some new glasses. For a large family, you could be about to throw thousands of dollars down the drain.

“Act now before it's too late.”

However, CHOICE also warned that extras may not be worth it for some Australians.

"Too many people still think you have to buy hospital cover and extras for tax purposes,” Mihm said.

“It's a good time of the year to think about how much you actually use your extras cover, and if you really need it.

“Extras cover can be worth it, but only if it pays out more than the premiums you are paying for it. The average extras cover for a single person is about $810 a year, which is a lot of money if you're not using it, and remember: you don't need extras for tax.”

So, how can you get the most out of your extras cover?

Here are CHOICE's tips for maximising your health cover.

1. Make a list of your expenses

Estimate how much money you spend on things like glasses and dental appointments in a year. Once you've added everything up, make that number your premium limit. That way, you can avoid choosing a policy that costs more than what you're already spending.

2. Consider separating extras cover from hospital cover

Did you know that you don't need to take out a hospital and extras policy with the same health insurance fund?

You may be able to find a better deal by having hospital cover with one fund, and extras cover with another.

3. Be aware of waiting periods

It's important to know that many policies are restrictive when it comes to claims for major dental treatments in the first year.

If you're wanting to use extras cover to get in, make a big claim, then leave, this may not work out so well.

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