As health insurance prices rise, here’s five ways to get the best deal 56



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As if you weren’t already paying enough, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced earlier this year that health insurance premiums are set to rise by around five or six per cent.

Private Healthcare Australia chief executive Dr Michael Armitage said a jump in premiums was unavoidable due to patient payouts rising nine percent last year. Prime Minister Tony Abbott rebutted and said “it is up to the market to set the price” of private health insurance, costs would certainly rise to “cover that (payout) increase”.

With many of us having an apathetic stance to health insurance, only a few of us will bother to shop around and look at different cover options from different providers when the time to do so arises.

However, with the health insurance premium hike set to be applied in April, there is no better time to sit down and shop around for some different options.

If you are one of the 11 million Australians who currently have health insurance, then you should you be asking yourself some tough questions before you renew your cover. The following are just a couple of vital things to consider when looking around for different cover options.

1. Does my policy include the extras that I need and/or want?

Sure price matters, but you’ve got to read the fine print to see what exactly it is that you’re paying out for. Don’t want physio, gym memberships or plastic surgery? Then don’t pay for it! Tell your provider exactly what you want and how much your willing to pay. If you’re not happy then there are plenty of other places that will tailor a plan to suit your needs.

2. Can I make payments in advance?

If you have the funds to do so, then lock in your premium and pay in advance. This will save you money as it will fix your contract and help you avoid the rate rise. You can pay up to 13 months in advance if you wish to do so.

3. Can I get a better price?

This is the tricky part. Getting insurance companies to offer cheaper insurance means for some deft planning and research on your behalf. Shop around online and compare and contrast similar plans that are suitable for you. Once done, contact insurers and tell them that the other firm offers better prices/ extras then that firm. 99 percent of the time they will beat the price they currently offer, or at least throw in some extras. They would rather have some of your business then give it to someone else. So research away and save some serious money.

4. Is my policy suitable for my current stage of life?

Similar to the first point, make sure your policy doesn’t include things that you won’t be needing. Many insurers try to sneak in additional charges like pregnancy cover or orthodontics (braces). Don’t pay if it isn’t suited to yourself right now.

5. What else can I get from my cover?

Certain funds give out rewards to new consumers. Look around, whether it’s a $50 voucher to your favourite shop or free after school care for your kids/grandkids, there is a whole lot of extra that you can try and squeeze from your insurer. Again, it just takes a little researching and time to find out what’s on offer.


What do you think of the premium rise? Do you think it’s fair? Why/ why not? Tell us in the comments below.

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Dont think its common knowledge that you can get extras and hospital from different providers.
    Saved me a lot just by shopping around

  2. After much deliberation we decided to drop our hospital cover. We have kept limited extras cover. Hoping it is not a decision we regret but unfortunately just can’t afford to pay the premiums even with an excess.

  3. Terence, unfortunately they are all for older people. We are the highest consumers of health services on average. They like to pitch to the younger and yes there are penalties if you do not belong to a fund prior to your 31st birthday. However, the fund payments by those younger are mainly to keep a cap on overall costs to funds. An aging population along with lower birth rates and a relatively low percentage of younger people joining funds will mean that prices will continue to rise.

  4. The time is fast approaching when we are going to have to seriously think about dropping out of health insurance. If enough privately insured people decided enough is enough, I am sure the government would suddenly have a very different opinion.

  5. Seems to me that the Government is pricing these Health funds right out of the market, people are struggling now

  6. I’m definitely going to make a few phone calls….I changed my provider two years ago, and since then I’ve never used the extras cover, so I think I will drop that bit at least.

    1 REPLY
    • I’m the opposite Dee. Never use the hospital, but use the optic, physio, podiatrist and dental. The worry is if we drop the hospital we would be sure to need it. It is a real strain on the pocket.

  7. Health Insurance just continues to go up &up !!!! It wasn’t very long ago that they went up !!! On a pension who can afford it?

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