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Consider this when buying health insurance

Nobody wants to fork out money for something they don’t require. Before you go ahead and sign up to a new health insurance policy that might not suit you, have a read through this list of considerations to make sure you end up with the correct cover for your needs, requirements and budget.

Where are you in life?

Many health insurance providers can offer you additional services outside of hospital for less such as optical, dental,  physiotherapy and more. But depending on your life stage, you may find you need a different level of extras cover. For example, dental cover may be better for you if you have a family with growing children, but optical may be more cost-effective to have as you get older. Always ask your fund what the process is to change from one extras level to another to save on hassle.

 

Lifetime loading for health cover

The government encourages Australians to buy health insurance at a younger age to help keep the public health system sustainable for the future.

If you buy hospital cover after July 1 following your 31st birthday, you’ll have to pay Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading.

This means your premiums will be an extra 2 per cent more expensive for every year of your age you’re over 30. The maximum loading is 70 per cent and is removed after 10 years of continuous hospital cover.

 

The rates rise in April

Health funds request a review from the government annually to combat the increasing costs of an aging population, rising chronic diseases, and new medical technologies.

Premium rate rises are reviewed and come into effect on the 1st of April each year, making the lead up months your best time to assess health insurance policies. If you’re not fully happy with the rise, you can compare health care providers to see if you can find a better deal somewhere else.

 

Household income & the Medicare Levy Surcharge

If your taxable income is over $90,000 for singles and $180,000 for families, and you don’t hold private health insurance, you will have to pay a Medicare Levy Surcharge of 1–1.5 per cent depending on your where you fall in the threshold.

This is in addition to the 1.5 per cent Medicare levy all taxpayers pay, so it helps to know what you need and want before your as your salary changes over the years.

 

Budgeting

Consider these tips to keep your budget in check with your health insurance:

  • Do you really need extras cover? Remove services from your policy requiring such as physiotherapy or optical.
  • You can increase your excess payment for a lower premium.
  • Shop around for bonuses with your policies, and ask your health fund if they offer discounts for using direct debit.

 

When looking at potential insurers

Research your short list of insurers to educate yourself more about their credibility & quality. Learn more about their time in the market and if they have a good reputation, industry awards and association with industry code of practices.

important to read and make sure you understand your insurer’s fact sheets. They are there to ensure you understand what you are covered for and what is excluded from your potential policy.

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