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More than 1 in 5 Aussies may be missing out on savings by sticking with the same health insurer

Reviewed by Executive General Manager – Health, Life & Energy, Steven Spicer
5 min read
13 Mar 2024
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While 14.42 million Australians are bracing to pay higher premiums for their health insurance this year, new research from Compare the Market has revealed that nearly four out of five Aussies with private health cover would switch providers if it meant lower premiums.

In fact, 78.9% of Australian adults surveyed said any amount of savings at all would be enough for them to switch from their current provider, revealing the startling impact that the cost of living crisis is having on Australians, according to Compare the Market’s General Manager of Health, Life & Energy, Steven Spicer.

“It’s a sign of the times, and we’re not quite out of the woods yet either. This next health insurance increase could be the one that pushes a lot of Aussie household budgets to the brink,” Mr Spicer said.

“We compare prices for groceries at the supermarket, so it makes sense that so many Australians are now doing the same with their health insurance.”

“Switching doesn’t mean you have to re-sit waiting periods that you’ve already served, so you may be able to take advantage of the same level of cover with a better price tag.

The data showed that saving between $100 and $299 was the sweet spot for many to consider a switch worthwhile. In fact, 31.5% of those with private health said they’d need to pocket between $100 and $299 to switch from their current provider.

For 15.9%, the savings would need to be between $300 and $499, while 12.8% of respondents would only switch for savings of more than $500. Meanwhile, 18.7% said they’d move to a new insurer if their annual saving was up to $99.

“With just a few months until all Australians with health insurance are hit with a fresh wave of rate rises, we’d encourage all policyholders to compare and see if they can save,” Mr Spicer said. “You may be able to save on a similar level of cover or you may be able to save even more by switching to a lower level of cover that still includes the benefits that suit your needs.

“There are also a number of other incentives and offers available that can sweeten the deal, which are often reserved for new customers. These can range from several weeks of free cover to access to reward stores and even frequent flyer points.”

Compare the Market’s data found that Millennials are the most likely to be open to the idea of switching health insurers to save money, with 90.4% saying that they’d switch if they believed the savings were significant.

Around 8 in 10 Gen Xers (81.5%) said they would switch to save money, followed by 76.4% of Gen Z and 65.2% of Baby Boomers.

“What this tells us is that regardless of age, many Australians are waking up to waste and are open to the idea of switching insurers and policies to save money,” Mr Spicer said. “With health insurance premiums set to rise again from 1 April, there’s never been a better time to ensure you’re getting the best value from your health insurance.”

Compare the Market’s data shows that 20.2% of Australians hold private health insurance to reduce their out-of-pocket costs. A further 14.5% have cover to avoid being stung with the Medicare Levy Surcharge.

“A lot of people purchase very basic policies that help them avoid paying the MLS, but boast very few features that can help if people do need to seek private hospital treatment.

“Compare policies, do your research and see if you can spend a little bit more on a Bronze policy, which can include some treatments relating to the brain and nervous system, eyes, ear, nose and throat, joints, digestive system and more.”

Mr Spicer’s top tips for keeping medical costs down

Understand how you can get the most from your policy

Whether you have a hospital,  extras or combined policy, understand what’s included in your policy and consider removing anything you may not be utilising or don’t think you’ll need to claim on. Higher levels of cover, like Gold, typically have greater range of inclusions, but you’re paying for them with higher premiums.

Cheaper doesn’t always mean you’ll save

While there are many policies available and different levels of hospital insurance tiers, you’ll usually receive fewer inclusions if you opt for a lower level of cover. As such, choosing a level of cover that caters to your health needs is vital.

You won’t need to re-serve waiting periods if you switch

New funds will recognise any waiting periods you’ve already served on the services you held previously. But it’s important to read your policy brochure carefully for inclusions, exclusions, waiting periods, excess amounts and more, as these vary between health insurers.

Search for funds that offer additional perks and discounts

There are several competitive offers available, such as extras waiting period waivers, free coverage for a limited time or other initiatives such as access to wellbeing and rewards programs. These perks can vary between providers, which is why it’s important to compare.

For more information, please contact:  

Phillip Portman | 0437 384 471 | [email protected]

Compare the Market is a comparison service that takes the hard work out of shopping around. We make it Simples for Australians to quickly and easily compare and buy insurance, energy, and home loans products from a range of providers. Our easy-to-use comparison tool helps you look for a range of products that may suit your needs and benefit your back pocket.

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Written by Phillip Portman

When he’s not busy writing, Phillip can usually be found at the movies, playing with his Italian Greyhound Wilma, hanging out with his cockatiel Tiki, or talking about everything pop culture. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Journalism and has previously written about health, entertainment, and lifestyle for various publications. Phillip loves to help others and hopes that people learn something new from his articles.

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