6 handy Health Insurance loopholes to save you money
With premiums about to rise again on April 1, here are 6 clever ways you might be able to save.
1. The annual pre-pay loophole
All funds raise premiums on the same day each year: the dreaded April Fools Day. But if you pre-pay for the coming year BEFORE April 1, you can avoid the premium increase for another 12 months. Not everyone can afford to, but it’s a good trick if you can.
2. You’re not locked in
Whether you decide to pay weekly or pre-pay annually, there are no ‘lock-in’ style contracts. Any unused premium is refundable. By law, you can also “take your waiting periods with you” if you switch funds. You don’t have to re-serve them unless you’re upgrading to a higher level of cover.
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3. Contribution groups
Health Funds can offer “contribution group” a discount of up to 12% off the standard premium. This could save you up to $480 on a typical $4000 family premium, and some funds use this loophole to retain members who are leaving. These groups were traditionally employees of a company or motoring club or other organisation. They’re sometimes called “Corporate discounts” too but it’s an industry secret that you don’t always need to be corporate to get them!
Ask your fund if they can put you into one of these groups: you might already qualify and don’t know it, or sometimes they’ll just add you to a group to keep you from leaving.
Some examples include:
4. Direct debit discounts
Some funds, such as NIB, GMHBA and Australian Unity, offer discounts of up to 4% for paying by direct debit, so ask for it.
Note that NIB also provides insurance for brands such as Suncorp, Apia and AAMI, while GMHBA owns brands such as Frank and health.com.au – so if you’re with any of those funds or you’re moving to them, why not ask about direct debit discounts?
5. 30-day money-back guarantee
Provided you don’t make a claim, all policies come with a no-questions-asked money back ‘cooling off’ period of 30 days – much longer than for many other products or services. So you’ve got more flexibility to change your mind when it comes to Health Insurance.
6. It’s “community-rated”
If you’re not very healthy and you’re worried about Health Insurance costing you more, don’t be. Unlike other insurance types, the price of health cover isn’t based on your history or characteristics. Any two people – no matter their wealth or health – must pay the same headline price for the same policy if they’re in the same state. Health Insurers aren’t allowed to charge you extra for any pre-existing conditions (though waiting periods may apply – just ask).
- For more tips on finding a better offer, see the 9Saver Guide on “How to shop around for Health Insurance”