With increases to private health insurance premiums announced today, new survey results from comparethemarket.com.au that reveals 67 per cent of Aussies over 65 years say they struggle to afford their health cover after each rate rise, and 46 per cent have had to cut back on expenses.
Spokesperson for comparethemarket.com.au Abigail Koch said: “While the 3.95 per cent increase may be less than previous years, the average health insurance policy has risen 29.75 per cent in total over the last 5 years, and Aussies are feeling the burden of each hike, especially the older generations, who rely heavily on their cover. “
“But it’s not just seniors who will struggle with this year’s price rise, it will also make it harder for the younger generations to justify having private cover at all. The survey also revealed that if premiums increased by 4 per cent this year, then 27 per cent of current policyholders thought it wasn’t worth it and that people should wait until they’re older to take out cover.”
“Before April 1, it’s important that all Aussies be proactive with their health policy, making sure they are only paying for what they need, at a price they can afford.”
How much more would the average Australian be paying?
Research commissioned by comparethemarket.com.au, conducted by IPSOS Mori, found that if premiums increased by 3.95 per cent on April 1, 2018, the amount the average Australian will pay for health insurance will be:
- Approximately $2,349 (per annum) for a hospital only policy, up from $2,260 (per annum)
- Approximately $811 (per annum) for an extras only policy, up from $780 (per annum)
- Approximately $2,474 (per annum) for a combined hospital and extras policy, up from $2,380 (per annum)
- Approximately $4,075 (per annum) for a hospital only policy, up from $3,920 (per annum)
- Approximately $1,601 (per annum) for an extras only policy, up from $1,540 (per annum)
- Approximately $4,200 (per annum) for a combined hospital and extras policy, up from $4,040 (per annum)
Comparethemarket.com.au gives some examples of policies that may suit Aussies, depending on their life stage and personal circumstances:
|Young singles||AHM’s White Boost Basic Extras||For just over $100 a month, the policy covers:
|Young families||Bupa Top Hospital 500 and Silver Extras||From around $400 a month, the policy covers a range of pregnancy and IVF services, perfect for those wanting to start a family. Excesses are waived for children and there are gap free options for a range of kids’ extras. There are also member discounts for theme parks, Ergobaby etc. As well as comprehensive cover for parents.|
|Established families||Nib Standard and Core Extras||From around $250 a month, the policy covers surgeries and treatments that you may need further down the track (e.g. heart surgery, cancer treatment, colonoscopy and more). But excludes services that may not be applicable at this stage such as joint replacements and cataract surgery.|
|Retired couples||Westfund Gold Classic 500||From around $400 a month, the policy includes a wide range of extras but importantly also the following services in hospital:
For hospitalisation for advanced surgery admissions, you’ll receive $200 per night additional benefit for advanced surgical procedures and up to $2,400 per hospitalisation.
|Singles wanting a tax only policy||MYO Accident Only||Costs under $100 per month, this is the minimum cover for tax with few inclusions. You’ll also receive automatic AIA vitality membership – earn points for your healthy choices, and get rewarded with savings on health and lifestyle partners, including discounted health foods, clothing and movies.|
Comparethemarket.com.au reveals five ways to get the most value out of your private health insurance:
- Understand your extras cover – The amount of money you can claim back from your extras differs from fund to fund, so it’s especially important to do your homework on claimable returns. It can be better value to choose a fund that pays out a percentage of your bill for each treatment (e.g. 60 per cent) rather than a fixed amount (e.g. $30).
- Choose a health fund that fits in with your life stage – For example, if you’re a growing family, then it’s beneficial to go with a policy that has member discounts and added perks for the kids. Some policies could offer free “scale and cleans” for kids while others will waive the excess for children altogether. Additionally, many health funds will allow you to keep your child on your policy until they turn 25 if they are studying full time.
- Don’t forget to claim! – It’s important to claim on your extras to maximise the return on investment. In a recent survey, comparethemarket.com.au found 30 per cent of Aussies have forgotten to claim on their insurance. Avoid forgetting altogether by checking if your provider offers HICAPS or similar services, before you book the appointment, as this can provide you with an immediate claim on the spot.
- Tailor your policy to suit your lifestyle – Did you know that you can request an annual claims statement from your current health fund and discover what you claimed on last year? If your claimable benefits were much lower than the premiums you paid, it might be time to shop around and switch to a policy that’s more relevant to your health needs.
- Take advantage of discounts – Keep a look out for health funds that offer discounts or promotions. For example, some funds will waive 2 and 6 month waiting periods on hospital and extras, others will offer gift cards worth hundreds of dollars. Some health insurance policies even come with discounts on gym memberships, clothing stores and movie tickets. You can compare health insurance policies side by side at a price that suits your needs and budget at comparethemarket.com.au.
Neneh McGuire – The Ideas Suite
T +61 2 9279 3330
M +61 404 433 263
 Comparethemarket.com.au survey of an independent, nationally representative panel of 502 Australians over 65 years with private health insurance, conducted by Pureprofile
 Comparethemarket.com.au survey of an independent, nationally representative panel of 1510 Australian adults with private health insurance, conducted by Pureprofile
 Research commissioned by comparethemarket.com.au and conducted by IPSOS Mori in January 2018. Including singles, couples, family and single-parent family policies.
 Independent, nationally representative panel of 1000 Australian adults with private health insurance.