Don’t spend more than you have to on health cover
It’s safe to say that no one reading this wants to pay more than they need to for health insurance. The good news is you don’t have to. Here are five hacks to help you save on cover.
1. Take advantage of switching periods
Every year there are two peak periods when Aussies are looking for health cover: March and June.
March is a peak period as April 1 is the time each year that premiums go up, meaning lots of people with insurance are looking for a better deal.
The other peak comes in June, as July 1 is the cut-off for people needing to take out cover before those nearly 31 get stung with Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading.
Shopping in one of these two peak periods can really work in your favour as health funds are trying to win the most business by offering a whole range of sign-up bonuses and incentives.
These incentives run the gamut from waived extras waiting periods and free months of cover to gift cards and Fitbits. All of these mean money in your hip pocket.
2. Prepay and save
Prepaying your health insurance premiums is a great way to save money. Of course, this option is not for everyone as it is a lot of money to outlay but you can save in more than one way.
First, if you prepay a year in advance before rates rise on April 1, you’re locking in your premiums at the previous year’s rate.
Second, there are health funds out there, such as Australian Unity, HIF and Navy Health, that offer you up to a 4% discount for paying your premiums a year in advance.
3. Direct debit discounts
Now, I don’t know why this is still a thing, surely 99% of people now pay for health cover with direct debit but there are health funds that will reward you for doing so.
These discounts range from 1.5%–4% of your annual premium and could see you saving a couple of hundred dollars a year just for ticking yes to direct debit when signing up for cover.
4. Fitness-based discounts
If you live a healthy lifestyle, you might want to look at a health fund that will reward you for being active.
Some health funds, such as myOwn, will provide you with a 5% discount on your premiums if you maintain a certain fitness level. If you’d prefer points to discounts on cover, Qantas offers you points depending on the number of steps you do per day.
5. Be switchy
If you have the time and wherewithal, keep an active eye on your extras. Switch to a new fund when your benefits run dry instead of waiting for the annual reset.
Health insurance policies aren’t lock-in contracts and you don’t need to have the same provider for both your hospital and extras, so there’s nothing stopping you from changing your extras policy when you’re out of benefits to claim.
Even if you don’t hit the maximum benefit, paying attention to what you’re claiming (or not claiming) may help you make a better decision about the type of policy you need in the future.