Analysis by CHOICE has found the biggest private health insurance price hike this year was 45% for an extras policy in the ACT and NSW, well above the 3.95% average increase.
"With Aussies continuing to struggle with the cost of private health insurance, it's important not to assume your individual policy will increase by the national average," says CHOICE head of media Tom Godfrey.
"If you didn't prepay your annual premium before April 1, you'll soon be receiving the monthly bill for your increased premium and for some people it will come as a real shock.
"For some families the hike will mean having to find nearly $800 more to help offset the cost of a trip to the dentist.
"Although premiums on some of the smaller funds are among the biggest increases, they might still be good value for money at a time when BUPA and HBF, among others, are cutting benefits.
"In the case of St.Lukes, which recorded the biggest percentage price increase in NSW, it's important not to discount it particularly in its home state of Tasmania where the increase was only 4.5%.
"Policyholders should see big price hikes in their state as a wake-up call to compare policies and an opportunity to determine value for money.
"Focusing on the average increase can be a real trap as individual policies can increase well in excess of that and prices can vary widely between states.
"As a rule, staying loyal isn't a good strategy when it comes to private health insurance. A policy that was good value last year, might not be the one to go with at the moment.
"If you need cover, compare policies and find the best value hospital and extras policy. In some cases, splitting your cover between two different insurers might be the best option."
"If you are struggling with the cost of health insurance and aren't sure if you even need it, go to doineedhealthinsurance.com.au," Mr Godfrey says.
For more information and to find the best policy for you, visit: Health Insurance Information.
Media contact: Tom Godfrey, CHOICE, Head of Media and Spokesperson: 0430 172 669
HOW TO SWITCH FUNDS
- Get a detailed quote.
- Ask for the cover to start only when the old cover is cancelled.
- Request a clearance certificate.
- Request an itemised claims statement (make a copy and send it to your new fund).
- Cancel your direct debit with your old fund and your bank.