How to save hundreds on your private health insurance

Health Insurance rates are set to increase by an average 3.95% on April 1st, and funds are also cutting benefits for customers.

You can scroll down to see the full list of funds and see where your fund ranks for its price rise.

The Today Show spoke to Consumer Campaigner Christopher Zinn about ways to avoid the imminent price hike and still receive the cover you and your family need.

2 ways to save on health insurance:

TODAY: Is there any way to avoid the expected price rise before April?

CHRIS: Yes. If you do nothing you will pay the average. If you check out what’s available in the market you stand a good chance of finding more value and more value can mean at a lower price or more features. Either way you have nothing to lose.

TODAY: How many Aussies are paying for unnecessary private health insurance extras?

CHRIS: 13 million Aussies have private health insurance, and while in an economically rational world the extras might not be necessary, they are buying the peace of mind that they can afford dental cover and other health treatments. But you have to be aware that there are limits to what you can claim including dental and optometry.

TODAY: The price increase will occur on April 1st. Where can we go to compare the different deals?

CHRIS: First advice is to go to privatehealth.gov.au which compares every fund and policy. However, if you would like to speak to a trained consultant to help you work out your needs in private health insurance then you might consider one of the commercial comparison sites.

The third option is to go to your fund and ask them how you might find more value in your cover which they might do by changing you policy or increasing your excess but they will not refer you to what might be better offers with other funds.

Complete List of Health Funds and their Average Premium Increase 

(Source: Department of Health)

RANK HEALTH FUND AVERAGE INCREASE
1 Health Care Insurance Ltd 8.90%
2 Cessnock District Health Benefits Fund Limited 6.40%
3 Defence Health Limited 5.97%
4 health.com.au Pty Ltd 5.87%
5 Mildura District Hospital Fund Ltd 5.68%
6 Health Insurance Fund of Australia Limited 5.35%
7 Transport Health Pty Ltd 5.16%
8 Railway & Transport Health Fund Ltd 4.47%
9 Queensland Teachers’ Union Health Fund Limited 4.40%
10 Queensland Country Health Fund Ltd 4.39%
11 GMHBA Limited 4.34%
12 Latrobe Health Services Limited 4.25%
13 St Luke’s Medical and Hospital Benefits Association 4.23%
14 Peoplecare Health Limited 4.19%
15 Phoenix Health Fund Limited 4.19%
16 BUPA HI Pty Ltd 3.99%
17 National Health Benefits Australia Pty Ltd 3.97%
18 Reserve Bank Health Society Ltd 3.97%
19 Health Partners Limited 3.95%
20 Navy Health Ltd 3.94%
21 NIB Health Funds Ltd 3.93%
22 MO Health Pty Ltd 3.90%
23 Australian Unity Health Limited 3.89%
24 Medibank Private Limited 3.88%
25 HBF Health Limited 3.75%
26 Police Health Limited 3.72%
27 Westfund Limited 3.43%
28 Hospitals Contribution Fund of Australia Ltd, The 3.39%
29 Emergency Services Health Pty Ltd 3.36%
30 CUA Health Limited 3.29%
31 Nurses & Midwives Health Pty Ltd 3.22%
32 Grand United Corporate Health Limited 2.84%
33 Teachers Federation Health Ltd 2.84%
34 CBHS Health Fund Limited 2.73%
35 ACA Health Benefits Fund Limited 2.72%
36 CBHS Corporate Health Pty Ltd 2.38%
37 Doctors’ Health Fund Pty Ltd, The 2.28%

TODAY: If we can’t find a cheaper deal with a different insurer, how can we ensure that we are getting more bang for our buck?

CHRIS: You can reduce the cost of your premium by increasing the excess or co-payment or excluding certain treatments however best idea is just be certain you are not paying for treatments you are unlikely to use, such as a 70 year old using pregnancy cover.

TODAY: Many of us believe the process to change health funds is too complicated. What’s your advice?

A lot of the complication comes from the various government sticks and carrots such as levies and rebates and tax policy. If you look clearly and simply around private hospital and extras because they are two very different areas and use the help available you can make better decisions. The people who say it’s all too complicated end up paying more.

* In highlighting particular offers we are not making specific recommendations as this article does not cover all available products and may not compare all features relevant to you. Any advice provided is general in nature and does not take account of your needs, objectives or financial situation. Individuals should consider their own circumstances, and if in doubt seek appropriate advice, before proceeding.