‘I prepaid my health insurance premium, can I get a refund?’

Apr 18, 2020
Many health insurers have postponed their premium increases for at least six months. Source: Getty.

Q: I paid my health insurance premium way back in February, do I get a refund?

Many Australians who are in a financial position to do so, opt to pay a full year’s worth of premiums prior to the annual health insurance rate rise in order to delay the increase, and lock in their current price for the next 12 months.

This year’s annual rate rise of an average 2.92 per cent was due to come into effect on April 1, however, in an effort to relieve financial pressure on Australians during these difficult times, many health insurers have postponed their premium increases for at least six months.

Anyone that prepaid their premium at the start of this year has paid the same current rate as those members of eligible health funds that will defer any premium changes for at least six months. As the premiums have remained the same for many funds, there isn’t a refund to receive on any changed premiums.

If you have paid for your health insurance 12 months in advance, you will receive these unchanged premiums for a full year rather than the current six months, which means depending on your circumstances you could save more by prepaying your premiums rather than making additional payments later in the year. However, if you have paid your premiums and now wish to receive a refund due to your financial situation, I recommend that you contact your health insurer directly to understand which options may be available to you.

A lot of health funds are now offering financial assistance to their members as well, which could mitigate the need to request a refund. This includes various support packages and financial hardship programs available to eligible customers, which can provide relief from paying their premiums during these tough times.

Some health insurers are allowing members to suspend their hospital only or hospital and extras policy for up to 12 months. However, this route needs careful consideration as while you aren’t expected to pay your premiums during this time, you also won’t be able to claim on any hospital or extras services as you normally would.

One of the most important things in life is your health. Maintaining your health cover is paramount, particularly with hospital cover as it can give you the peace of mind knowing that when a medical event arises for which you are covered, you and your family can receive high quality private care. It is also expected that once the current strain on both public and private hospitals from Covid-19 has passed, those who had their surgery cancelled or postponed due to the virus will be particularly grateful for their private hospital cover. Those with the right level of hospital cover will be able to avoid public waiting lists for procedures, stay in a private room, and receive treatment from a doctor or specialist of their choice.

If you have a question for Starts at 60’s health experts, email it to [email protected].

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial or legal situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product or legal advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial or legal decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services or legal advice.

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