By Sophie Ryan, iSelect spokesperson
Millions in For cost-of-living hit in October. Are you one of them?
We get it. You’ve probably heard enough about cost-of-living pressures. It’s not like we can really do anything about it, right? Wrong! This is one hip-pocket hit you may be able to cushion by taking just a few simple steps.
We’re talking about health insurance, and from October 1, some of Australia’s biggest funds will increase their prices.
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While many have already put up their premiums for 2023, millions of Aussies with funds such as Bupa, nib, GMHBA/Frank, and Defence Health (which combined have almost 40 per cent market share) will likely experience a rise in their health insurance bills next month.
So, what can you do about it?
Read on as we break down some simple steps you could take now to help soften the blow.
1. Consider switching your plan or provider
Whether your health fund has already increased your prices this year, or is about to, shopping around and comparing your plan and provider is a great idea. Recent research commissioned by comparison service iSelect found that most policy holders surveyed who switched their health insurance plan and/or provider within the last two years either saved money or found better value, and the majority of them (77 per cent) said they’re saving at least $100 a year as a result, 62 per cent at least $200, and 40 per cent at least $500!
So, if you’re looking to save money during these tough times, why not shop around for a better deal.
iSelect General Manager – Health, Andres Gutierrez, said health insurance may seem overwhelming but help is out there.
“We understand that everyone’s got better things to do with their time than spend hours comparing different health insurance policies,” Andres said.
“The trained consultants at iSelect* can do the hard work for you by comparing from a range of providers and taking care of the process for you, saving you time and effort.”
2. Think about pre-paying or increasing your excess
If you’re with a health fund that is increasing prices in October, consider whether you could afford to pre-pay your annual premium upfront for a full year before the increase happens. This can be a great way to essentially delay the 2023 premium increase for another 12 months and lock-in your current rate.
Otherwise, another trick that could help reduce your premiums is if you opt for a higher excess. Generally, the higher the excess you are willing to pay, the lower the premium.
3. Look at your life stage
Last, but certainly not least, consider what stage of life you and your family are at. Finished having children? Then you probably don’t need to be paying for pregnancy or IVF cover anymore.
Perhaps your kids are about to hit their teens and might need braces soon. Have you checked your policy for orthodontics cover? Aussies often pull the old ‘set and forget’ when it comes to health insurance and could be forking out hard-earned cash for outdated policy.
In fact, the study also revealed that most Aussies surveyed (70 per cent) say they have either never switched or haven’t switched their health insurance plan and/or provider for more than two years.
Now it’s time for you to run off and start looking for those policy documents!
But what about your waiting periods if you do decide to switch? Don’t worry! Any hospital waiting periods you’ve already served are protected if you do decide to switch, so you won’t have to serve them again. That’s if you switch to an equal or lower level of cover.
iSelect Health disclaimer: *iSelect does not compare all health insurance providers or policies in the market. The availability of policies will change from time to time. Not all policies available from its providers are compared by iSelect and due to commercial arrangements, your stated needs and circumstances, not all policies compared by iSelect are available to all customers. Some policies and special offers are available only from iSelect’s contact centre or website. Click here to view iSelect’s range of providers