10 tips to save on your private health costs!
We’re blogging about private health because of a few things happened recently.
· One of my clients was reviewing her annual Private Health spend, and wondering whether to continue with pregnancy cover extras - they hadn’t decided on trying for another baby. She decided to keep pregnancy cover (in case) and dropped their infertility cover. Outcome: lower cost cover.
· Later that week, we were reviewing private health premium costs for another client, and this policy also included pregnancy cover. However in this case, it was completely unnecessary as (55 year-old) men don’t get pregnant! (NB seahorses are only animals where the males get pregnant) Outcome : even lower costs of cover.
· Yet another client didn’t know that they could save on their premium by paying in advance, before all private health funds increase their fees on 1 April this year.
So if you've decided that private health cover is for you, here are 10 tips to help you keep your costs under control:
1. Timing is everything!
Check out the details of what you are covered for, and work out and make any relevant changes. For example, you may need:
· better hospital cover ( for elective surgery, like cataracts )
· less extras ( your kids don't need cover for dental braces anymore) or
· less cover altogether ( if children are leaving home).
To check out what you can be covered for, check out the private health comparator.
Funds often reward early payment with a discount, and some funds offer a direct debit discount as well – check out what your fund actually offers.
3. Advance payments
If you pay your premium 12 months in advance, you could save on the annual 1st April fee increase. If not, you will be locked into higher rates. You need to pay by 31st March at the latest.
4. What's your income ?
Depending on how much you earn, if you are not covered by private health insurance you're going to have to pay an extra 1% - 1.5% tax towards the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS). (Base income threshold is $ 90,000 for singles and $ 180,000 for families).
5. How old are you?
If you don’t take out private cover, the Lifetime Health Cover loading kicks in - this adds 2% loading to your premium for every year you don’t take out cover after age 31.
6. Check out the excess
Just as you have an excess on car insurance, you may be able to opt for a hospitals cover excess, and save on premium costs .
7. Is there an excess for extras?
An excess may also be there for extras cover- some funds let you choose a percentage fee refund ie higher cost extras can mean a bigger percentage refund.
8. Corporate membership
Some employers and organisations offer a health insurance policy that they partly, or fully fund, for the benefit of employees. Which means lower costs for you.
9. Check out the fine print
10. Customer service
This is all important if you or your family are unwell. It’s really worth it to know that your insurer is there for you at a time when you absolutely need it!
Higher-cost private health premiums come in on 1 April 2019.
Call us for a quick chat or drop us a line for help with saving on your private costs and getting your money working for you.
* See here for The Conversation: the secret sex life and pregnancy of a seahorse dad.