Private Health Insurance Prices to Rocket. Here’s How to Shoot ‘Em Down.

If you’ve got private health insurance, there’s a good chance you’re feeling pretty stitched up already. We hate being the bearers of bad news, but we’re afraid it’s gonna get worse.

Here’s why, how and what you can do to beat the next hike.

Why does it cost so much?

As medical technology and health care continue to improve, the cost of using these services is getting more expensive every year. That’s the crux of why health insurance costs crank up every twelve months.

But health insurers can’t just hike prices as and when they see fit, it’s actually the government that has the final say on how much insurers can increase their premiums.

So, early each year the industry hops aboard a merry-go-round of negotiations with the health minister in a bid to get premiums increased.

After tallying up the increased costs they expect to face in the coming year, each health fund puts in a request to increase the price of their policies. The government then weighs up each case and sets an approved average increase for each fund, along with an industry average.

How much are you gonna get stung this year?

Private health insurance premiums look set to increase by as much as sever per cent this year as policy holders  pay for rising health care costs, improving medical technology and increased use of services.

 

How can you beat these blood suckers?

The first thing to do is review your current insurance. There’s no point holding denture cover as a healthy 25 year old, or pregnancy when you’re way over the hill. So make an honest assessment of your situation and only pay for what you need by choosing cover that fits.

Next up, it’s time to shop around, regardless of what you’re paying for your current policy.

In what’s a super competitive industry, insurers will usually tailor their policies to suit you, so ask for exactly what you want, But, one caveat here, be careful of any waiting times if you do switch funds.

Now, waiting times should be waived if you’re just taking up the same level of cover with a different insurer, but always ask the question. If they do want to impose a non-claim period, ask if they can waive it. The worst you’ll get is a sorry, no.

Those are the two big ones, but there is another sneaky way to save a few bucks. I fyou pay your premiums in advance you can lock in your current rate before the rate rise takes place in April. While this takes a bit of cash up front, it does mean delaying the premium increase for another next 12 months.

The last word of advice is the most annoying: read the fine print.

Trimming your policy, switching providers and paying premiums in advance can save you some money, but it might be at the expense of things like coverage, benefits and annual limits, so check the details before making a deal.

 

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Image: NASA HQ PHOTO, via Flickr