New research suggests that three-quarters of Australians with private health insurance are not aware of the benefits they are entitled to within their policies. This finding comes to light as health insurance premiums increased by a national average of 6.18% earlier this month.
To measure how Australians are using their health cover entitlements, health insurance comparison website comparethemarket.com.au – which compares a wide variety of health insurance policies across a panel of well-known health insurance brands – surveyed an independent panel of 1000 Australians with private health insurance.
The survey found that even though 88% of respondents understand the value of private health insurance, some 77% were not aware of all the benefits made available to them through their policy.
Comparethemarket.com.au also asked Australians what influenced their decision-making when choosing or renewing a health insurance policy.
Out of all the respondents, 78% said their health requirements and personal circumstances were an important influence in their decision-making process. However, half (48%) had not reassessed the benefits and cost of their existing health insurance policy before making a decision at renewal time.
Spokesperson at comparethemarket.com.au Abigail Koch says, “We often speak with customers who may be paying around $3500 a year for family top cover, and yet they’ve never used, or even considered that they are paying for treatments such as assisted reproduction or eye surgery. To keep costs as low as possible, we recommend that consumers take the time to understand what their policy covers and if there are any treatments they can eliminate in order to reduce their premiums.”
The findings also suggest that insurers need to revise their approach to educating customers on their policies.
When respondents were asked how much information they received from their health insurance providers prior to buying a policy, 23% said they received an overwhelming amount of information that they found difficult to understand. A further 36% received just enough information to provide them with a basic understanding of what they can claim for, while 4% said they did not receive enough information to help them make an informed decision.
 An independent survey carried out by Pure Profile on behalf of comparethemarket.com.au. The 1000 respondents were individuals living in Australia with private health insurance. Respondents were an equal ratio of male to female, aged over 18 years old. Respondents were a representative of the Australian population NSW (303%), VIC (26%), QLD (18%), WA (11%), SA (7%), TAS (2%), ACT (2%), and NT (1%).