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Comparing Health Insurance Plans

Health Insurance Comparison Tips

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Comparing health insurance is a task that many people take too lightly, without knowing or considering some of the most important aspects of health insurance plans on offer.

1. Change Health Funds

Don't be afraid to look around at some of the health insurance options from other insurers as there are some great offers available.

The waiting periods normally associated with a new policy are waived when switching from one fund to another with similar benefit levels. Most people assume that they will have to qualify under the new waiting periods after they switch but this is not the case.

In fact, maintaining the continuity of your cover is a guarantee provided by the health insurers as a legal requirement when changing funds.

So don't be complacent, check out some of the other funds' rates.

2. Consider the Ancillaries

A lot of people insure for basic hospital benefits with added ancillary benefits such as optical, dental, physio, etc.

The actual amount that you will get paid as a refund on your health insurance claim can vary considerably between one fund and the next so be diligent in making this comparison between funds.

You shouldn't make comparisons between funds based on price alone without giving consideration to the benefits you will receive.

Making these comparisons can be quite complex for most individuals because of the enormous variation in policy terms.

Most funds, for example, have a range of benefit limits based on maximum amounts that can be paid under the policy for each

  1. family member
  2. policy
  3. medical visit
  4. policy year

Some funds even have limits based on a combination of things.

This is why the comparison of ancillary benefit can be complex

3. Tailoring a Health Cover to Fit Your Needs

Firstly you'll need to establish your current life stage. Basically there are 5 life stages and each has it's own broad needs.

For example, a mature-age couple won't need cover for pregnancy and a young single is unlikely to be seeking a replacement hip any time soon.

A family with young adult children still living at home might be more interested in a policy that covers offspring up to 25 years of age as opposed to the more common 21 year age cap.

Over 45s are more likely to be considering the prospects of major dental work sometime soon than young adults.

The bottom line is, consider your life stage, your (and your family's) health history, and look at ways to customise a policy to fit.

4. Optional Deductibles

It's possible to reduce your health cover premiums significantly by including things like

  • optional excesses (where you pay the first $500 or $1000 per annum).
  • co-payment (where you contribute a set daily amount toward your hospital stay)

5. Getting Best Value

You can insure hospital cover and ancillary benefits with different health insurers to obtain better on each.

Ongoing changes in premium rates from all insurers has meant that the great value policy you bought a year or two ago may be less competitive now.

6. Tax Benefits

People who don't have private health cover and are earning over certain income threshold are required to pay additional tax in the form of a Medicare Levy Surcharge in addition to the standard Medicare Levy .

7. One Last Thought

Given the vast number (thousands) of policy options and combinations available in Australia, it might be well worth enlisting the help of a health insurance broker to help you nail the best deal.

A broker's services are generally provided to you free because they are funded by the health insurers.

A diligent broker can potentially save you as much as 50% on your health insurance premiums whilst, at the same time, finding you the best cover to meet your individual circumstances.

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