Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

Consumer group CHOICE has found many people were hit by significant increases to their health insurance premiums in April, in some cases by as much as 17% – far higher than the annual average industry-wide price increase of 3.03%. 

“CHOICE looked at the prices of over 24,000 policies with hospital cover and found Gold policies had the highest premium increases, with average increases above 10% for HBF, HCF, HIF and Australian Unity policies. One Gold policy in Western Australia even had an increase of 17%,” says CHOICE health insurance expert, Jodi Bird. 

“With these sky-high increases, it’s worth taking the time to review your health insurance to ensure you’re only paying for what you need, and that you’re getting it at the best possible price,” says Bird.

CHOICE’s top tips for saving on your health insurance: 

1. Drop gold hospital insurance 

“Gold hospital cover has become too expensive. If you have a specific condition that’s usually only covered by gold, and you want to use the private hospital system, look for a silver plus policy, or consider self insurance.”

“Self-insurance is an alternative to private health insurance. Instead of paying an insurer, you save money yourself to pay for private health costs as they arise. If you don’t need any health treatment, your savings will grow,” says Bird.

“We have found that in some cases, opting to self-fund your health care can be the better-value option,” says Bird.

“Cataract surgery, for example, is one of the most common surgical procedures in Australia, but is often only covered by the most expensive top cover Gold policies. We crunched the numbers and found that the annual cost of top-cover health insurance could be more than you would pay for a private cataract procedure out of pocket,” says Bird.

“This option may only be suitable for people who have few health issues and do not anticipate any unexpected health events. And of course, you need to ensure you have the money set aside in case you do require a surgical procedure or treatment in the private system,” says Bird.

2. Compare policies to find a good deal 

“We always recommend comparing policies to find the best value policy to suit your needs. The same cover with a different insurer may save you hundreds of dollars a year. We suggest looking beyond the well-known big funds and consider smaller funds –  we found that switching to a smaller fund often gives you a cheaper deal,” says Bird.

“If you’re unsure on where to start, CHOICE has an independent health insurance comparison tool that allows you to compare over thousands of policies from over 40 insurers,” says Bird.

3. Do you need extras insurance?

“The value of extras insurance really depends on the individual. It can be worth purchasing, but only if you use it enough that it pays out more than the premiums that are coming out of your pocket,” says Bird.

“If you need extras insurance, shop around and buy your extras from a different provider than your standard hospital cover if you find a better deal,” says Bird.

Compare health insurance policies here: https://www.choice.com.au/money/insurance/health/compare

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