How much private health price rise will cost you

 

Millions of health insurance members are about to be slugged higher costs of up to $140 a year when their premiums rise on October 1.

Private health insurers delayed their annual April 1 increases when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but it now means many members are facing two hikes within six months.

All funds are lifting their premiums next week except HBF, health.com.au, AIA and TUH who will delay the rise until 2021.

Analysis by health insurance comparison site iSelect found that the planned 2.92 per cent average increase would result in premiums rising on average by $127 to $4476 for families, couples by $140 to $4920 and singles by $59 to $2073.

iSelect spokeswoman Laura Crowden has urged Australians who are "doing it really tough financially" to review their premiums before costs go up.

"This out-of-cycle premium rise is likely to be a nasty shock to many policy holders given that health insurance normally rises in April each year," she said.

"Gone are the days when customers would be notified of rate increases well in advance by letter.

"These days most funds communicate electronically via email, with some simply notifying customers via their online portal or mobile app, which can be easily missed."

Mother-of-three Julie Hallett, 53, reassessed her private health cover a few months ago when one of her daughter's came off her family policy.

Private health insurance premiums rising on October 1. Julie Hallett, 53, husband Bruce, 55, and son Jordan, 21, recently switched their health cover to save. Picture: Tim Carrafa.
Private health insurance premiums rising on October 1. Julie Hallett, 53, husband Bruce, 55, and son Jordan, 21, recently switched their health cover to save. Picture: Tim Carrafa.

She switched insurers for the first time in more than 30 years and while she's only saving about $75 a year she said she has better cover.

"We have budgeted for private health insurance and we see it as a priority, we have silver hospital plus cover and have better cover," Mrs Hallett said.

"I should have reviewed my cover much earlier and I think people should be doing it every couple of years."

Latest Australian Prudential and Regulation Authority statistics showed in June 28,570 people ditched their hospital cover while 37,460 people dispensed of their extras cover.

Medibank's chief customer officer David Koczkar said, "it's important that customers regularly review their cover to ensure they are paying for a policy that best suits their current needs".

"Customers wanting to reduce their premiums can consider increasing their excess or if they want to avoid the rate rise they can pre-pay their premium for 12-months," he said.

Some funds are offering struggling customers discounts or the pausing of their policies.

This includes Medibank and ahm who are giving a 50 per cent reduction for six months for eligible customers on JobKeeper, JobSeeker or other government payments.

sophie.elsworth@news.com.au

@sophieelsworth

Originally published as How much private health price rise will cost you



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