If you’ve already invested in private health insurance, congratulations! You’ve taken a great step towards protecting your own (and perhaps your family’s) health and wellbeing for the foreseeable future. But did you know that your first purchase of health cover shouldn’t be your last? People can often fall into the trap of finding a suitable policy for their unique lifestyle and thinking that they’re sorted, health-wise, for the long run. While that might be applicable in a few cases, the general consensus when it comes to private health funds is that your policy should be reviewed at least once a year. This is to ensure that your cover continues to meet your ever changing healthcare needs.
It’s a brand new year, which calls for a brand new start. If you’ve stuck with your current policy for a good long while, what better time than in the new year to consider switching it up? If you’re feeling slightly daunted by the process of transferring health funds, keep on reading to get all the pertinent information. It’s actually a lot easier to change up your health insurance than you might think!
Health insurance is a highly competitive and constantly expanding market. Nowadays there’s a huge variety of products available, designed to suit many different life situations. If you’ve found that your circumstances have changed since you first invested in private cover, it’s definitely advisable for you to review your policy and have a good hard think about the kind of healthcare you now require. For example, if you’ve recently gotten married and want to start thinking about having children, you’ll want to select a new policy that covers the costs for pregnancy and childbirth. On the flipside, if you had health insurance for the family beforehand and your adult children have since moved out of the home, you’ll want to downsize your policy to only cover your own (and your partner’s) healthcare needs.
This is why it’s so important to change it up every now and then when it comes to your private health insurance. With so many providers and policies on the market, you can always afford to pick and choose the right one for you at the present time.
Portability Rules Make It Easy
If you’re considering changing your health insurance policy, it might be the idea of having to serve another waiting period or the possibility of cancellation fees that’s putting you off. If that’s the case, you’ll be happy to know that the Australian Government has put in place “portability” rules (as per the Private Health Insurance Act 2007) that make it simple and easy for you to switch to another fund.
- It costs nothing for you to transfer from one health fund to another
- Your Lifetime Heath Cover status doesn’t change when you switch, and any age loading or absence of loading will be transferred with you
- You will continue to receive any rebate you are currently eligible for on your current policy, such as the Australian Government Private Health Insurance rebate
- If you have kept up-to-date with the payments for your current private health insurance and you have already served the waiting period required for this policy, the waiting period for your new cover will be waived if it is at the same or lower level
- Waiting periods will apply if you have additional or upgraded benefits on your policy
If you’re unsure whether or not certain portability rules apply to your situation, be sure to carefully review the Product Brochure for your new health fund, or contact the provider directly with your concerns.
How To Choose Your New Policy
Transferring to a different health fund is all about ensuring that your private health insurance caters to your present habits, healthcare needs and overall lifestyle. Therefore, when you’re reviewing prospective new policies, there are a few important matters that you’ll need to keep in mind.
When it comes to hospital cover:
- If you need to go to the hospital, will you have to pay any excess, or make any co-payments?
- Are there any treatments you won’t get full benefits for? If so, which ones? Are these specific services or operations that you are likely to require in the future?
- Does your new health fund have agreements with private hospitals you may need to attend? If not, you may not receive full cover for any treatments at these hospitals.
- How can you minimise any gap you might have to pay for hospital fees, in regards to your new policy’s gap cover scheme?
When it comes to extras cover:
- Does your new extras cover offer benefits for the services you specifically require? It’s a good idea to make a list of the sorts of services you are likely to use, for instance: dental, physio and optical.
- What waiting periods apply for each of these services?
- What are the annual limits for each of the services? Will these annual limits increase over time, the longer you remain with the policy?
A New Health Fund For The New Year
Each new year brings with it fresh sights and sounds – new experiences, new routines and new acquaintances. To make the most of your ever changing lifestyle, it’s important that your healthcare issues are covered by your private health insurance. If you haven’t considered transferring health funds before, now is a great time to consider making it an annual tradition. Here’s to a safe, happy and healthy new year!