Other ways to save
Each year before the price rise on April 1, those who can afford to can prepay their premiums for the next year at the previous year’s rate. This could save the average single $200. Other actions include switching to a couple’s policy and increasing the excess. Agreeing to pay an excess lowers the cost of your premiums. Consider joining a restricted membership fund run through an employer or industry group (most people are eligible for at least one), as premiums are usually lower and benefits are higher.
When to swap
Almost one in 10 people regularly switch their insurer in order to get the best value policy. Ask your insurer for a claims statement. If you have paid out more in premiums than has been paid for treatments, you’re not getting a great deal and it’s time to reassess.
Health funds know March is a popular time for consumers looking to make the switch, so they offer all kinds of deals and discounts from gift cards to fitness trackers. Outside of March, you can normally get offers when signing up for a combined policy such as a free month or skipped waits.
Don’t forget, you don’t have to reserve waiting periods on hospital cover if you’ve already served them with one fund. You can ask your new insurer to waive your new extras waits too. However, you will have to serve a waiting period for any new treatments if you sign up to a policy with a higher level of cover. Be sure you maintain sufficient cover to preserve your Lifetime Health Cover status and avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge.
- Look for an insurer that offers member discounts, such as gap-free dental, multiple policy and loyalty discounts, etc.
- Couples who want pregnancy cover are potentially better off with two single policies – one with pregnancy cover and one without – rather than a couple’s policy.
- Review your policy regularly (at least every six months) to ensure it is still the best value for money.
Use it or lose it. Don’t forget to use up those extras limits as they reset ever y year. Easy ways to get value include getting prescription sunnies, having a scale and clean at the dentist, claiming a gym membership rebate or quit smoking course, or even just having a massage.