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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

CHOICE warning ahead of health insurance premium rise

With Medibank, Bupa, HCF and NIB set to increase their premiums from 1 November, CHOICE is advising Australians with private health cover to check their policies for possible savings.

Of the 11.5 million Australians covered for hospital treatment, more than one in three have purchased the most expensive, maximum level of cover with no exclusions, the consumer advocacy body said.

These are known as Gold policies, and in some instances they can be almost twice as much as the cheapest Silver policy offered by the same provider.

“With the cost of living rising, it’s vital that people check they’re only paying for what they actually need when it comes to health insurance. Gold policies can cost almost twice as much as cheaper policies that still cover many things people need,” says CHOICE health insurance expert, Uta Mihm.

“In most cases, the only people who are getting the best deal from being on a Gold policy are those who have a chronic illness, need pregnancy and birth services, psychiatric treatment in hospital, or weight loss surgery. That leaves many paying more than they need for their health cover.”

CHOICE’s analysis of current health insurance policies found that downgrading from a Gold policy to a Silver or Silver Plus policy could save a single person up to $1,823 per year with the same provider, or potentially more if you shop around. 

“For many people, a Silver Plus policy that includes cover for rehabilitation in a private hospital is a very good option and will offer you better value than a Gold policy,” says Mihm.

“People should also downgrade if they needed higher-level cover in the past but don’t anymore. A common situation is buying coverage to have a baby in a private hospital or to cover surgery, but then continuing to pay once their situation has changed.”


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