Conducting an overview of your lifestyle and needs before you compare the available health insurance products will enable you to make an informed choice and save money in the long run.
For real value, it may not result in selecting the policy with the cheapest premium. If, for example you regularly attend physiotherapy and only have hospital cover, you may end up being more out of pocket than if you‘d also purchased extras cover with a physiotherapy rebate. Similarly, if you don’t require obstetrics cover, it doesn’t make sense to pay for it!
Some people are unaware that if you are over 31 you’ll pay the government a Lifetime Health Cover loading fee if you eventually take up cover. This means that for every year that passes after the 1st July following your 31st birthday that you don’t have health insurance, you’ll pay an extra 2% on top of the regular premium if you do take it up. The loading is only removed after 10 continuous years of health cover so save some money by being organised and do not delay taking out cover if you are near this cut off age.
See if your fund will offer a discount for an annual payment or even a direct debit discount. An annual payment will sting financially once a year, but if you use lump sum payments such as your tax return to pay for it, it will feel like less money out of your pocket each month. This option can also help you to avoid the April 1 rate rise for the year if you time it right with you insurer. Similarly, selecting a higher excess for hospital admissions can drop down your monthly premium. Again, if you stash away a little regularly towards a lump sum payment, in the event of a hospital admission you will be prepared to cover this cost if you need to. If you are not admitted over the course of that financial year, you have extra savings earning you interest!
Some employers will have access to subsidised health care plans when you work for them, so it is worth keeping in mind if you’re switching jobs or if are unsure if your current company or organisation offers this benefit. It never hurts to ask, or it could be a potential perk you might want to consider negotiating at annual review time, especially if a pay rise is not able to be paid to you directly.
Finally, in addition to reviewing as many health insurance products as possible, ensure that this search also examines the actual companies that you’re considering purchasing cover through. For-profit health insurers for example, are structured to strive toward profits for shareholders or executives, whereas not-for-profits are known to return a larger proportion of premiums to their members. On average this means that not-for-profit funds will represent better value for money. Try a Members Own comparison to get you started and discover the best deals on offer to suit your circumstances.