Getting value’s the best policy
Too little or too much health cover can waste money, so keep it under review, writes
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.