What you need to know before private health insurance premiums rise on Oct 1

The COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to health insurance premiums rising back in April this year, but now the delay is soon to be over as private health funds plan to increase their premiums from October 1.

Under the industry-weighted average, singles would be paying an extra $35.36 per year, while families would pay $103.48 more – but it depends on which fund you’re with.

Some insurers are increasing their premiums by up to 5.6 per cent – and one isn’t increasing them at all.

Here’s a breakdown of the changes that will be coming to some of the biggest private health insurers.

HBF

HBF members have something to celebrate – their premium increase for 2020 has been cancelled entirely.

Eligible members on JobSeeker and JobKeeper can also apply for premium relief for up to nine months through the fund’s Health Cover Protection.

HBF also offers a Hardship Waiver, which allows a member who has been with HBF for more than a month to suspend their health cover for up to six months.

NIB

NIB’s average premium increase of 2.9 per cent will apply only to members holding hospital cover. This means most members will pay less than $3 a week more for their insurance.

For those who hold extras only cover, there will be no premium increases this year.

If you are currently on JobSeeker or JobKeeper assistance, you can apply to have your premium increase waived from October 1, 2020, to April 1, 2021 – but eligible members need to apply for the waiver before October 15, 2020.

MEDIBANK

The increased premium for Medibank members will average 3.27 per cent.

Medibank customers on JobKeeper or JobSeeker can access a 50 per cent waiver on their premium for up to six months, saving an average of $800.

Those in Victoria in a COVID lockdown situation may also be eligible for a 10 per cent discount on their premium for three months, as long as they’re not receiving any other hardship policy discounts.

BUPA

Bupa’s premiums will increase by an average of 3.26 per cent.

The health insurer will defer the premium increase for a further six months for any customers on JobSeeker or JobKeeper.

Other members not on government support are also able to apply for financial hardship assistance including a possible three-month premium suspension.

HCF

HCF premiums will increase by an average of 3.39 per cent.

Members who have been with HCF prior to March 31, 2020, and are now unemployed, can have their premiums covered for up to six months. However, for members who joined after April 1, 2020, a 12-month waiting period applies.

If you haven’t lost your job but need some financial help, premium waivers are an option.

Health protection is on people’s minds as we are in the midst of a pandemic. Picture: Valerie Macon /AFP
media_cameraHealth protection is on people’s minds as we are in the midst of a pandemic. Picture: Valerie Macon /AFP

SHOULD YOU SWITCH?

Insurance specialist Sophie Walsh said that when it comes to your health insurance, loyalty doesn’t pay off. She urges Australians to consider ‘trimming the fat’ on their cover before putting their policy on the chopping block.

According to Finder, Aussies that switch to a cheaper health fund policy in the same tier of hospital cover can potentially save more than $700 a year.

She added that Australians still have time to opt to pay their annual premium in advance before the price increase comes into effect to lock in the current prices until next year.

“The financial fallout from COVID has left many households looking for ways to cut down spend,” she said.

“Instead of dropping your policy completely, review your cover to make sure you’re paying for the right level of cover that suits your needs and lifestyle. If you’re young, fit and healthy, don’t pay for gold cover if you’re highly unlikely to need it.”

Originally published as Health insurance rises are coming

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Author: hafiz 2012