Aussies brace for largest health insurance premium hike in five years: Here’s how you can save on your policy

Mar 05, 2024
In the face of rising health insurance premiums, Aussies are left wondering how to safeguard their financial health. Source: Getty Images.

In what will surely be a blow to the wallets of millions of Australians, private health insurance premiums are set to soar by over three percent, marking the most significant annual increase in five years.

The Federal Government has greenlit an average industry premium rise of 3.03 percent, effective from April, prompting concerns about the financial burden on households already grappling with the global cost of living crunch.

This surge surpasses the 2.9 percent increase witnessed in 2023 and the 2.7 percent rise in both 2022 and 2021.

Health Minister Mark Butler stressed that despite the increase, it remains below the annual rise in wages, which stood at 4.2 per cent in 2023.

“I wasn’t prepared to just tick and flick the claims of health insurers, as the Opposition was urging me to do. I asked insurers to go back and sharpen their pencils and put forward a more reasonable offer for the 15 million Australians with private health insurance,” Butler said.

“While we know that any increase will be hard to bear during a global cost of living crunch, the Albanese Government has ensured that health insurance premiums will fall relative to Australians’ wages and Labor’s tax cuts mean all Australian taxpayers will get a tax cut on 1 July, so Australians earn more and keep more of what they earn.”

Butler urged private health insurers to prioritise providing value for money to their members, emphasising that increases should contribute to system-wide improvements, such as higher wages for healthcare professionals and the availability of affordable services.

Health insurance expert Tim Bennett from Finder acknowledged the challenges currently faced by many Australians, stating, “Health insurance premiums increase every year to keep up with inflation, but other factors insurers consider, like rising rates of chronic disease in an ageing population, mean prices are outpacing inflation.”

“Australians are being forced to fork out more money for almost everything, and in many cases insurance is the first non-essential to be cut,” Bennett added.

“But cancelling your health cover can be a risky move, especially if you have a health scare in the future.”

In the face of rising premiums, Aussies are left wondering how to safeguard their financial health.

These savvy strategies from Finder can help navigate the turbulent waters of increasing health insurance costs, ensuring that you continue to receive quality coverage without breaking the bank.

Top tips to save on your health insurance policy:

Keep your cover up to date. Our health needs are always changing, so our health insurance should change as well. Review your cover at least once a year to make sure you have cover for everything you might need, and for nothing you don’t.

Don’t fret about waiting periods. A potential barrier to switching health providers is the fear of needing to wait another 2-12 months before your benefits kick in. No stress! If you’ve already served your waiting period under one provider, it will always carry over to the next.

Get the most from your extras. Extras cover can be extremely cost-effective if you use them right. By picking your extras cover carefully, you can easily make back your premiums from the money they’ll save you.

Prices going up, but keen to stick with your current fund? Consider paying for a year in advance. Give your fund a call and ask them to pay for a full year at today’s price, if you have the cash available.

-with AAP.

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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