Private health insurance myths: Busted!

If you want to change your health insurance provider, but you’re feeling stuck, read on… 

Despite the changes to health insurance premiums April 1, it’s still a good time to shop around for better value.

But don’t fall for these common myths about changing health funds. The truth is: the law ensures you’re not locked in.

MYTH #1: “It’s all too hard. I give up.”

BUSTED: There’s a view that Health Insurance is hard to switch because it’s a complex product and there are over 30 funds and tens of thousands of different options to compare. But the truth is, all policies fall into one of 3 rough categories: top, medium or basic cover.

The key is to keep it simple. if you were hiring a tradie, would you get a quote from everyone in the Yellow Pages? Of course not. Get 3 quotes and you’ve got a good basis for a solid decision. Or use a comparison site such as* to do it for you. (See ‘How to shop around for the best Health Insurance offer’)

MYTH #2:  “I can’t switch because I don’t want to serve my waiting periods again”

BUSTED: There are laws in place to protect switchers and encourage it. For example, ‘portability provisions’ mean you can take waiting periods you’ve already served with you. (See “Who can switch health funds?”)

The Private Health Insurance Ombudsman also has a good fact sheet at this link.

9Saver Tip: Subscribe to 9Saver to be part of our Health Insurance Campaign and get access to exclusive Health Insurance offers (coming soon).

MYTH #3: “I’ve already paid for the year”

BUSTED: You can switch at anytime and request a refund of unused premiums from your current provider, so this is not a barrier.

MYTH #4: “It’s not worth it”

BUSTED: People often save hundreds on their annual premium by shopping around and switching, so it can be worth it. But there are other ways to save without switching too, so check out the 9Saver Guide on ‘5 Ways to Reduce your Health Insurance Premium’)

MYTH #5: “I need everything I’ve paid for”

BUSTED: As your circumstances change, so do your health insurance needs. For example, you could be paying for obstetrics, IVF and pregnancy services, even though your days of starting a family (or at least thinking about it) are far behind you.  Removing the aforementioned from a policy — or switching to one that doesn’t include them — saves about $500 p.a. for a family, on average. Reviewing your policy will help you work out whether you still need everything you’re paying for, or if you’d benefit from switching.