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
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
- family member
- medical visit
- 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
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.