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What you need to know about switching health insurance providers
Conduct a quick straw poll amongst your friends, and chances are that many will agree they don’t have the time to review or change their health insurance. But they might say, “It has been on my to-do list for ages.”
Many people have the misconception that switching health funds is a pain. And it can be, particularly if you’re very time-poor – or simply have better things to do with your life than spend hours trawling through health insurers’ product pages to find the best deal.
Indeed, 41% of Australians say that they would feel much better if they had someone else taking care of life admin tasks like switching health funds1.
Concerned about switching?
Going from the known into the unknown can be a big roadblock for many people. This can apply to reviewing and switching health insurance. You might have been with one insurer for years, and are familiar with their claims process. You may also be thinking, “I’ve served all the hospital waiting periods on my policy, and I don’t want to wait around again.”
In fact, one of the most common switching questions we get at iSelect is about whether hospital waiting periods have to be re-served when you switch health funds. As the government’s Private Health website states: “If you want to move from one fund to another, you will not have to re-serve waiting periods if you transfer to a policy that is at the same or a lower level of benefit.” Whether or not you’ll need to re-serve waiting periods for extras (like physiotherapy) is at the discretion of your health fund, so be sure to double check.
It’s when you switch to a fund that has new or higher benefits than your current policy that you’ll have to serve new hospital waiting periods for those new benefits.
Another common concern is about premiums that you’ve already paid. Say you pay your premiums monthly in advance on the first day of each month. On the 4th of the month, you decide to switch funds. Do you get 26 days’ worth of premiums back? Absolutely!
Making it easy to switch
With these concerns in mind, it can be tempting to file reviewing or switching away in the too-hard basket. But this could mean that you’re missing out on easy ways to save on your health insurance premiums.
To make the switching process as easy as pie – and to make sure all the right processes are followed in terms of carrying over your waiting periods, refunding you for pre-paid premiums, and ensuring continuity of cover while switching – the smarty-pants among us use iSelect.
It’s what we’re here for. To make choosing, reviewing and switching health funds simple.
1 PHI Premium Increases, Galaxy Research Australia, February 2017
Any advice provided in this content is of a general nature and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You need to consider the appropriateness of any information or general advice we give you, having regard to your personal situation, before acting on our advice or purchasing any product. iSelect does not compare all products in the market. Not all products are available at all times.