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With private health insurance premiums on the rise, is it time to switch providers?

private health insurance premiums
private health insurance premiums
Like petrol, groceries and interest rates, private health insurance is going up this year, some policies as soon as April 1.
But now is the time to do a health check on your policy to make sure you’re covered for what you need and that you’re getting value for money.
March is traditionally the month of incentives when health funds offer free weeks or months, frequent flyer points, and even cashback to switch.
The key is to not be lured by the incentives and make sure the policy suits you.
Father-of-two Daniel Katsogiannis made the switch to a new health fund and has now saved $40 a fortnight with more suitable coverage for his family’s needs.
“I found the most surprising thing was the value for money I’m now getting compared to what I was getting before,” he said.
For a young family like Mr Katsogiannis’, they are unlikely to need cover for cataracts and hip replacements while an elderly couple won’t need pregnancy or IVF cover.
A survey by comparison group iSelect found 39 per cent of people with health cover who switched policies in the past two years said they saved at least $100 on their annual premium while 18 per cent said they saved at least $300 a year.
“It’s really important the policy is actually suited to you or your family’s need,” iSelect spokesperson Sophie Ryan said.
“Even though there are those deals and incentives on offer, you really need to shop around and find out what is valuable to you to find suitable cover.”
Premiums are due to rise by an average 2.7 per cent this year which would add an average of $125 to a family policy and $58 to a single’s policy.
Some funds, on the back of COVID-19 and lower claims while elective surgery was cancelled, have deferred their premium increases till later in the year.
While it may offer some reprieve now, the rise will likely coincide with higher interest rates.
HCF has deferred its premium increases by seven months; BUPA, ahm, Teachers Health, Medibank and Defence Health by six months; and nib and AIA by five months.
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Written by Shehryar Joyia

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