Get­ting value’s the best pol­icy

Too lit­tle or too much health cover can waste money, so keep it un­der re­view, writes

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

So­phie Elsworth

HEALTH in­sur­ers are work­ing harder to en­sure pol­i­cy­hold­ers are on the cor­rect cover and not pay­ing too much.

One of the na­tion’s largest health funds, Med­ibank, has re­vealed it is now be­ing proac­tive by con­tact­ing more than 1000 cus­tomers ev­ery week to make cer­tain they are on the right pol­icy and guid­ing them through whether they need to make any changes to their cover.

The fund’s chief cus­tomer of­fi­cer, David Koczkar, said the health in­sur­ance in­dus­try needed to be more proac­tive in en­sur­ing cus­tomers had the cor­rect in­sur­ance to suit their needs.

“The in­dus­try has his­tor­i­cally waited for cus­tomers to ring up to check their cover or de­tails,” he said. “It’s re­ally im­por­tant not to set and for­get your health in­sur­ance as you move through key stages of your life and your health needs change.”

Mr Koczkar said one of the key trig­gers to re­view­ing a pol­icy was for those plan­ning to have a fam­ily.

“We have 19,000 ba­bies born each year to Med­ibank mem­bers ... so we help them with in­for­ma­tion and con­tent about what to do when they are ex­pect­ing and hav­ing a deeper level about their pol­icy and the cus­tomer’s health,” he said. Other trig­gers for re­view­ing a pol­icy in­clude reach­ing a mile­stone birth­day where your needs will most likely change or play­ing a new sport where you spon­sored by could get in­jured and re­quire health care.

Your fam­ily his­tory is also im­por­tant. If some­one has health is­sues, this could be ge­netic and re­sult in you hav­ing sim­i­lar is­sues.

A chang­ing re­la­tion­ship sta­tus, such as get­ting mar­ried or di­vorced, could be an­other rea­son to re­view your cover.

At the start of the year, the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment an­nounced health in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums would rise again, and on April 1 the av­er­age pre­mium rose by 4.84 per cent, cost­ing fam­i­lies about an av­er­age $ 200 ex­tra a year, in­creas­ing their pre­mi­ums to al­most $ 4500 a year.

Fi­nan­cial ser­vices firm Canstar’s group ex­ec­u­tive of fi­nan­cial ser­vices, Steve Mick­en­becker, urged con­sumers to check their cover and be aware their needs could change.

“If you are fit and healthy, then put in the diary to re­view your ex­tras cover us­age ev­ery cou­ple of years,” he said.

“If you are not us­ing it enough to cover the pre­mium, then de­cide whether you are likely to use it more.

“If not, maybe you should think about down­grad­ing it to save some money.”

SKILLS: Kristin Tun­bridge and her son Bai­ley, 5, play Mo­nop­oly to teach the value of money.

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