By Jayn O’Driscoll
It seems unfair that every single year 13 million Australians have to pay more for their private health insurance – a service that most of us over 31 years of age are practically obliged to have so we aren’t overtaxed. It’s like clockwork. As the annual rate rise isn’t going anywhere, it’s best to tackle the problem head-on and make sure we, and our families, are winners every year.
As you’ve no doubt realised, thanks to the media blitz currently bombarding our televisions, radios and web browsers, there will be a 5.59% rate rise across private health fund premiums from 1 April 2016 – an average figure that creates confusion for everyday Australians and seems more useful for selling newspapers than anything else. Some products will see no rise at all, while others could rise significantly more than the average.
Taking a few minutes to compare your health insurance during the month of April is a great idea, says Andrew Davis, Managing Director of Choosewell – a free health insurance comparison service.
“Whether the average goes up 5% or 7% each year, it’ll still hurt. What matters more is that over time people’s circumstances and requirements change, and products change. The relative pricing of health funds also changes. So it’s important that people make sure what they’ve got is what they need and they’re insured by the fund that offers them the best price for the cover they need.”
Winners are those that have recently reviewed their health cover and know that it fits their needs perfectly. It’s important to make sure you’re not dishing out for something you and your family just don’t need in the near future, 2 to 3 years or so. Also, you’re a winner if your health fund has raised your insurance premiums by a polite amount, or maybe even nothing at all.
You’re in a good spot because you’ve taken the time to make sure everything is in the right place. You’re covered for all the right services so now you just need to make sure your premiums are still competitive after the 1 April rate rise.
Ugh, that word sucks! But you’ll lose out if you don’t engage with the issue. Your indifference to this regular life expense could cost a lot more in automatic payments from April 2016. Also, if you are apathetic about this, what other financial obligations do you avoid? If left unchecked, regular payments can really hurt your ability to save or repay debt. You could have more money in your pocket every single month with just a few minutes of attention!
You don’t have to do much, just consider your position right now and in the foreseeable future, check your level of cover, and then, if you really want to avoid spending eternity in Loserland, get online and compare your cover to others and make sure you’re getting the best deal using a free online health cover comparison service. It won’t take long and you could save a bunch of cash AND rest easy in the knowledge that you’re covered and getting great value for money. They even have consultants who can help tailor a package that’s perfect for you, your family and your lifestyle. And it won’t cost a cent.
If you have private health insurance, chances are you will have it for life due to the government’s Lifetime Health Cover policy so get used to forking over that money every month. To make sure it’s still the right thing for you, every couple years, when all the whoo-ha about health insurance premiums hits the airwaves, use April as the month to make any changes to your arrangement in the future and adjust your level of cover and provider to meet those needs. If you’re younger and planning to have your first child soon, you need cover and you’ll want to get any waiting periods out of the way. Those who are a little older, with kids close to moving out, it’s time to drop orthodontics and similar cover that older families no longer need.
Conclusion: everyone is different so it pays to be curious about health cover in April!
Jayn O’Driscoll is interested in how money can be made easier for families and individuals. With 15 years experience in the financial services industry, Jayn began her marketing career at QBE Insurance where she delivered marketing campaigns and events for the motor and home insurance portfolios.
To ensure you and your family have the best arrangement for your needs, use a comparison site like Choosewell to make sure you’re getting a suitable deal from your health fund when another rate rise hits next April.
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