Aussies are being urged to be proactive with their health insurance, as price hikes start kicking in.
Health insurance premiums are increasing by 2.9 per cent on average this year, with some funds raising their fees over the weekend. That means Aussie families will pay an extra $134 per year for health insurance, while singles will fork out an extra $60.
If you’re looking for ways to save, Compare Club has rounded up six hacks that it says can save an Aussie family $1,231.55 or more.
Also read: 5 ways to cut the cost of health insurance
These figures are based on three popular family policies - HCF Silver Hospital & Low Extras, Bupa Silver Plus & Low Extras, and nib Silver Hospital & Low Extras.
1. Trade down
Are you paying for cover you don’t need? According to Compare Club, more than a quarter of Aussies take out expensive Silver Plus or Gold hospital cover policies, which often cover pregnancy.
“If you’re not planning on having more kids or just don’t think you need all the items on your cover, it’s worth seeing if you can find a cheaper policy on a lower tier,” Compare Club CEO Andrew Davis said.
It’s also worth looking at ‘Plus’ policies, to see if you can get extra cover for a cheaper rate. The average family can save $462.90 per year by switching.
2. Shop around
It’s also worth shopping around and seeing if you can get a comparable product for cheaper. Visiting individual websites as well as comparison sites can give you a good idea of what’s on offer.
The differences in pricing could be significant, Davis said, but the exact savings would depend on your needs.
3. Raise your excess
The higher your excess, the cheaper your overall premiums will be. However, you’ll need to ensure you have enough money to cover the excess in the event that you do go to hospital.
“If you’ve not got an immediate operation coming up, this can be a very good way to cut the cost of your premiums,” Davis said.
Based on the three funds, you could save $224.33 annually by increasing your excess from $500 to $750.
4. Compare extras limits
Extras can be a bit harder to compare because there are no set guidelines for what policies cover.
“The best place to look is on the dental cover, as this is where you’ll find the most value. You
won’t make immediate savings, but you will save over the course of the year if you use up all
your limits,” Davis said.
5. Take advantage of discounts and offers
Health funds often offer sign-up incentives to lure new customers. Some common ones include waiving waiting periods, a certain number of free weeks and cashback.
Using the Bupa Silver & Low Extras police as an example, Compare Club found you could save $424.32 by getting a six-week-free offer.
”Again, it pays to compare, as you may get a saving by opting for a slightly more expensive policy with an offer or discount, or you may find that the cheapest policy with no offer
is a better fit,” Davis said.
6. Lock in your premium for a year
Paying your premium annually instead of monthly means you can lock in the current price and defer the price hikes. This could save you $120 a year, Compare Club found.
“It does mean that a family would need to pay upwards of $3,000 in one go, and not everybody has that amount of cash lying around. But if you can, it can knock several hundred dollars off your annual premium,” Davis said.
Total savings: $1,231.55