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Australians about to throw “thousands of dollars down the drain”: CHOICE

Bupa, Medibank, NIB customers risk wasting health insurance extras.

Consumer advocacy group CHOICE is warning Australians with health insurance extras that they may be about to waste thousands of dollars.

"COVID-19 put many parts of the country in lockdown throughout 2021. That means a significant number of Australians won't have been able to get as much out of their extras as they usually would. You may have put off a dental check, missed a couple of physio sessions or not picked up some new glasses. For a large family, you could be about to throw thousands of dollars down the drain. Act now before it's too late," says CHOICE health insurance expert, Uta Mihm. 

"Most health insurance funds will reset their extras benefits on January 1st, so now is the time to book that dentist appointment or get new glasses so your extras don't go to waste," says Mihm.

Health funds such as Bupa, Medibank, HCF, HBF and NIB are among the health insurance providers that reset their extras benefits on 1 January. You can find a complete list here:

CHOICE is also warning that extras may not be worth it for some Australians.

"Too many people still think you have to buy hospital cover and extras for tax purposes. It's a good time of the year to think about how much you actually use your extras cover, and if you really need it. Extras cover can be worth it, but only if it pays out more than the premiums you are paying for it. The average extras cover for a single person is about $810 a year, which is a lot of money if you're not using it, and remember - you don't need extras for tax," says Mihm. 

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CHOICE's tips for getting the most out of your extras cover: 

1. Make a list of your expenses. 

Estimate how much money you spend on things like glasses and dental appointments in a year. Once you've added everything up, make that number your premium limit. That way, you can avoid choosing a policy that costs more than what you're already spending. 

2. Consider separating extras cover from hospital cover.

Did you know that you don't need to take out a hospital and extras policy with the same health insurance fund? You may be able to find a better deal by having hospital cover with one fund, and extras cover with another.

3. Be aware of waiting periods. 

It's important to know that many policies are restrictive when it comes to claims for major dental treatments in the first year. If you're wanting to use extras cover to get in, make a big claim, then leave, this may not work out so well. 

Read more tips on how to save on extras insurance here:

Media contact: 0430 172 669,