Need to know
- If you have health insurance with Bupa and NIB (or a few others), you're about to get hit with premium increases of up to 3.39%
- CHOICE experts say you should always be on the lookout for the best deal on your health insurance and now is a great time to switch
- You can switch health funds as many times as you like, at any time of year, with no need to serve any waiting periods for benefits previously covered by your old policy
As if we haven't had enough price rises for essentials such as food, electricity and fuel lately, the cost of health insurance for customers of certain funds is about to go up too.
Several big insurers will be increasing their annual premiums over the next couple of months.
- Bupa will increase premiums by 3.39% on 1 October
- NIB will increase premiums by 2.72% on 1 October (this includes Qantas Health)
- GMHBA will increase premiums by 2.33% on 1 October (this includes Frank).
Is your fund about to increase the price of your health insurance?
Your health insurer may have contacted you about the price increase and how it will affect your monthly repayments. For example, if your family has a combined hospital and extras policy with GMHBA and you have the Gold Optimum Hospital ($750 excess) with Top Extras Set Benefits, your monthly payments will increase by $42 per month to $791*. This adds up to over $500 more per year!
Although some increases may not be quite so substantial, it's still money many of us would rather have in our pockets right now.
Below, you can view a comprehensive list of the funds that are soon to increase their premiums and the date the new prices will come into effect. If you are in one of these funds, it's time to check your inbox to see how much your premium will increase by and shop around to get a better deal.
"Many people don't realise how much money they can save by looking around for a better deal and switching to a cheaper health fund," says CHOICE health insurance expert, Uta Mihm.
"In some cases, you can save hundreds by switching to a policy with exactly the same level of cover but with a different provider."
Uta says people may be reluctant to switch as they think it's too difficult or that they may have to serve new waiting periods but this is often not the case.
"It's easy to compare policies from over 40 different providers using an independent tool such as the CHOICE Health Insurance Finder. Once you've found the best deal, your new insurer will manage the switch for you – and if you are switching to a policy with the same level of cover, you won't have to serve additional waiting periods."
According to Uta, the largest savings are available for Gold policyholders, but even if you have a Silver or Bronze policy, you'll probably be able to find a cheaper deal that will give you at least the same cover, or even slightly more.
*Price is for a family policy in NSW with no government rebate
Tips for saving money on your health insurance
If you're being slugged with monthly health insurance premiums that are becoming more difficult to swallow, the good news is that there are some steps you can take to reduce the cost of health insurance.
These include reviewing your health cover to check if you are paying for cover you don't really need, shopping around for a better deal, or dropping coverage for extras if you're not getting maximum value out of them. Follow some of our cost-saving tips here.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.