Consumer Campaigner Bek Day: ‘How I Saved $8,000 on Health Insurance’
Savvy journo and young mum shares the tricks that helped her save thousands on Health Cover in recent years
Since the 9Saver Health Insurance Campaign kicked off in April, more than 20,000 additional Aussie homes have joined the initiative, unlocking an exclusive, limited-time offer from nib Health Funds.
Consumer campaigner Bek Day says families should use the offer to see if they can save hundreds of dollars, and shares her other tips below on how she saved thousands in recent years by learning more about health cover.
How much have you saved on Private Health Insurance and how?
DAY: I would conservatively say I have saved about $8,000 in two years. If I add up the money I have saved on monthly premiums, customising and streamlining my policy and the money I have saved shopping around for medical practitioners who offer a ‘no gap’ service.
What do you think it’s important for people to know about their Private Health Insurance in order to make savings?
DAY: I think first and foremost, it’s important for people to know that they have more power than they realise. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, which is why telling your provider you need a better deal is a great first step. That’s why I believe in the power of the 9Saver campaign. Together, our voices are so much more compelling, and the more Australians who get onboard, the better.
Where have you seen examples of people paying thousands more than they have to?
DAY: One occasion was when my husband needed an operation on his nose. We were facing a $4000 out of pocket cost, and with research I managed to avoid paying anything. There are ways in which you can reduce the costs associated with your private health insurance, not only when you need a procedure, but on your monthly premiums as well. A lot of people don’t know about this – or, perhaps, don’t know where to start – which is why I am so passionate about educating people on the topic.
Once people have joined the campaign, what else can they do?
DAY: Outside of joining the 9Saver campaign, there are still a few ways you can make savings on your health insurance policy. A really simple one is to find out what your hospital excess is. My hospital excess was $450. This is a one-off payment you would be required to make should you require hospitalisation (in many cases, this only applies if the stay is overnight). The excess can only be charged once per year.
When I phoned up to enquire about how I could save on my policy, I was informed that by increasing my excess to $500, I would save $50 per month on my policy. This means a saving of $600 a year, for only a $50 increase in the excess – which I only need to pay if I go to hospital. So far, touch wood, I haven’t needed hospitalisation, which means in the two years since discovering this, I’ve saved our family $1200.
Finally, a great way to save is to really drill down into your policy and find out what you do and do not need in terms of coverage. It is tedious, I know, but you really can find a lot of ways to cut the fat.
When did you first realise you were confused about Private Health insurance?
DAY: For me, it happened smack bang in the middle of my pregnancy. I thought, mistakenly, that I would get all the money I had paid out on appointments back. I assumed that because I had Private Health Insurance I would be refunded the costs, and as you can imagine, it was a bit of a shock when I discovered the joys of ‘out of pocket costs’. From there, I began a journey of trying to better understand my policy and private health insurance in general. Along the way I’ve heard from countless others, and it seems most Australians are actually quite confused about what they are covered for, and how the whole thing works.