Give your health in­surance a check-up

The Western Star - - MONEY SAVER - SO­PHIE ELSWORTH

DIS­GRUN­TLED pri­vate health cus­tomers are be­ing urged to re­view their health in­surance to save money.

Lat­est Aus­tralian Pru­den­tial and Reg­u­la­tion Au­thor­ity sta­tis­tics showed about 45.5 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion had hos­pi­tal cover in the March quar­ter – down from 47.4 per cent three years ago.

Lat­est fig­ures from health com­par­i­son web­site com­parethe­mar­ket.com.au found the av­er­age cost of hos­pi­tal and ex­tras cover for a fam­ily is $4200 per year, but be­fore ditch­ing, ex­perts sug­gest you re­view these four fac­tors:

1 LIFE­TIME HEALTH COVER

This en­cour­ages Aus­tralians to take out hos­pi­tal cover be­fore age 31 and re­duce their reliance on the pub­lic sys­tem.

They need to sign up be­fore July 1 af­ter their 31st birthday, or be slugged an ex­tra 2 per cent on top of hos­pi­tal cover cost each year up to a max­i­mum of 70 per cent.

CUA’s health in­surance CEO Philip Fraser said he sees a spike in young peo­ple shop­ping for in­surance be­fore June 30.

2 MEDI­CARE LEVY SUR­CHARGE

Hav­ing pri­vate health cover can help min­imise tax costs when fil­ing a tax re­turn.

The MLS is paid on top of the Medi­care Levy by those without hos­pi­tal cover.

Com­parethe­mar­ket.com.au spokes­woman Abi­gail Koch said “we all pay a Medi­care Levy” but those without cover who earn above the thresh­old – $90,000 per an­num for sin­gles and $180,000 for fam­i­lies – will pay an ex­tra 1 to 1.5 per cent.

3 IN­CEN­TIVES

As the fi­nan­cial year ends, Com­parethe­mar­ket.com.au’s data shows 21 in­sur­ers of­fer­ing in­cen­tives to new cus­tomers, in­clud­ing weeks of free health cover, waiv­ing of wait­ing pe­ri­ods, cash back, gifts and dis­counts just for sign­ing up.

4 COM­PARE FUNDS

Gov­ern­ment web­site pri­vate­health.gov.au is an in­de­pen­dent site that in­cludes all health in­sur­ers and poli­cies, ex­plain­ing the cover and cost.

Mr Fraser also rec­om­mends you “con­tact your in­surer and make sure you’re on the right prod­uct for you.

“Your cir­cum­stances may change… there’s a num­ber of things that trig­ger dif­fer­ent price points on your pre­mi­ums,’’ he said.

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