By Sophie Ryan, iSelect spokesperson. Disclosure, sponsored.
Millions of Aussies enjoy the peace of mind that comes from having private health insurance but of course, it comes with a cost.
If the price of your policy hasn’t increased already this year, there’s a chance your wallet could take another hit soon when some of the country’s biggest insurers including Bupa, nib, GMHBA/Frank, Defence Health (which combined have almost 40 per cent market share) increase prices from October 1.
The good news is there are ways you could save on your health insurance to help lessen the shock of this year’s average 2.9 per cent premium increase across all funds.
Read on as we explain more and answer some questions you may have running through your mind.
What’s Going on with Prices?
Let’s further break down the lay of the land when it comes to insurance prices.
The cost of a health insurance policy typically increases in April each year, but because of the pandemic and cost-of-living pressures, many funds delayed annual price rises during the last couple of years to give their members some financial relief.
That’s about to come to an end for around 5.5 million Aussies (according to health fund membership data from Bupa, nib, GMHBA/Frank, and Defence Health for the 2021-22 financial year).
Policyholders of those funds specifically could see their premiums go up by as much as 3.48 per cent.
What’s the First Thing I Should do to Save?
We’re glad you asked! Let’s get into it.
Whether the price of your health insurance went up earlier this year, or is about to, now is a great time to see if you can save money by switching to better value health insurance –especially as other household costs continue to rise.
Too often, many of us fall into the trap of ‘setting and forgetting’ and continue to pay our bills when they arrive without considering there could be a better deal out there.
For example, a recent study commissioned by comparison service, iSelect, found that most policy holders (77 per cent) surveyed who switched their health insurance plan and/or provider within the last two years say they’re saving at least $100 a year, while 62 per cent are saving at least $200 and 40 per cent are saving at least $500.
iSelect General Manager – Health, Andres Gutierrez, said saving money isn’t the only reason to compare policies and providers.
“You may no longer have an appropriate level of cover, or your policy may no longer suit your needs, particularly if your life stage or health needs have changed,” Andres said.
“For example, if your family is well and truly complete, think about whether you still need to be covered for IVF and pregnancy.”
Besides Switching, What Else can I do?
Another great question! While shopping around and switching could save you money, there are a few other hacks that could be worth investigating.
Firstly, some funds may be offering incentives at certain times of the year, so now could be a good time to shop around and take advantage of any deals.
Remember though, a good deal doesn’t necessarily mean the cheapest. Make sure the policy is suited to your needs.
Next is whether you can afford to pre-pay your annual premium upfront.
For example, if your health fund is increasing the price of your policy on October 1 and you pay your premium in advance for 12 months before this date, your current rate will be locked-in (for the next year at least).
Some insurers may have a cutoff date for this though, or you might need to wait for the funds to clear.
So, if this is something you want to consider, you’ve got no time to waste.
Don’t know where to start? If you’re time-poor (who isn’t?) a comparison service such as iSelect* can help you compare policies from their range of providers to see if you could save money.
And as a real sweetener, if you do decide to switch, they’ll help you take care of the whole process!
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
1. Sources: Tab 5, cells E13, J13, L13, X13 of Operations of Private Health Insurers Annual Report data 2021-22.xlsx (live.com) & page 17 of State of the Health Funds Report 2022 (ombudsman.gov.au)
4. Source: iSelect commissioned i-Link Research to conduct a national online survey between 28 April and 3 May 2023. The sample is n=1,000 Australians 18+ years, with data weighted to represent the population by age, state and gender, and is representative of all Australian adults 18+