Private health insurance premium increases are on the way so these are the things you need to consider now before ditching or switching your cover.
Private health insurance premium increases are on the way so these are the things you need to consider now before ditching or switching your cover.

The amount your health insurer is hiking premiums

MANY Australians will be weighing up whether it's worth ditching or switching private health insurance cover this year.

Fund members will experience their smallest increase to premiums in a long time, rising by an average of 2.92 per cent.

But among the dozens of insurers, premium increases range from 1.98 per cent to 5.58 per cent.

Recent survey results from health comparison website iSelect found one in five Australians were considering dropping their cover altogether because of the rising costs of policies.

iSelect spokeswoman Jessie Petterd said despite the smaller rises this year, "many families are already struggling with the cost of private health insurance".

"It's important to be aware that the 2.92 per cent increase is an industry average only, with many policy holders set to be hit with an increase above this figure depending on your provider and the type of policy you hold," she said.

"That's why it's important to check you're still getting value for money on your policy before April 1."

Premiums rise in Australia on April 1 each year.

Higher-income earners who don't have cover - singles earning more than $90,000 a year or couples earning more than $180,000 - are hit with the Medicare Levy Surcharge, which is an additional 1-1.5 per cent tax.

More Australians are ditching their private health insurance cover as premiums continue to rise each year.
More Australians are ditching their private health insurance cover as premiums continue to rise each year.

CUA health product manager Harmeet Saini said Australians should expect to hear from their funds in the next month or two explaining their specific premium increase.

"Consumers typically need to wait for their fund to send a letter or email to advise of their new premium," he said.

"This is because the change to your premium will vary depending on the state you live in and your level of cover."

Mr Saini said customers could consider paying up to 12 months of premiums in advance before April 1 to avoid the coming year's price rise.

Medibank chief customer officer David Koczkar said "we encourage all people to review their cover, particularly when their circumstances might change".

"It could be your family situation might change, you risk a certain age where your risks of health conditions increase or decrease," he said.

"Don't set and forget, proactively speak to your insurer to make sure you have got the right cover."

Mr Koczkar said there were other things to check up on too.

"For example, all Medibank hospital cover comes with unlimited emergency ambulance Australia wide and that's not the same for every insurer," he said.

sophie.elsworth@news.com.au

@sophieelsworth

 

INSURER INCREASES IN 2020

• Australian Unity +2.79 per cent

• Bupa +3.26 per cent

• CUA Health +3.99 per cent

• Defence Health 3.49 per cent

• GMBHA +3.34 per cent

• HBF +1.98 per cent

• HCF +3.39 per cent

• health.com.au +3.94 per cent

• Medibank +3.27 per cent

• NIB +2.9 per cent

Source: Department of Health (average annual premium changes)



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