Like all things related to health insurance, it's important to be informed. That's a note that rings particularly true with all Australian health funds increasing the amount they charge their clients on April 1.
The average premium rise will be 5.59 per cent, the government announced in March. However, your health fund could be dramatically lower or higher than that – and their rate change is sure to influence you in the back pocket.
Let's look at what Australia's three major health funds are doing:
1) Medibank (5.64 per cent)
Australia's largest and recently privatised health fund set its stall out early. In January, the company's managing director, George Savvides, suggested a recent profit upgrade at Medibank could help them be more competitive with their premiums.
"Medibank has been working hard to address private health insurance affordability issues at their source," he said at the time. It seems to have been the case, with Medibank increasing premiums by 5.64 per cent this year – much less than in 2015, when the company upped their rates by 6.59 per cent, though still slightly higher than average.
Big insurers are not always the best way to go – though sometimes they are.
2) Bupa (5.69 per cent)
Last year, Bupa raised its members' premiums by 6.5 per cent. With more pressure placed on health funds this year than before, the company opted for a more muted rise of 5.69 per cent this year.
"On average, Bupa health insurance will increase by around $2.50 per week for a typical single Bupa member and $5.60 per week for a family before any rebate or discount," the fund calculated in a March media release.
3) nib (5.55 per cent)
nib says it paid $1.3 billion in medical benefits last year, and has seen its claims expenses rise by 7.2 per cent. Despite that, the fund will increase its premiums by 5.55 per cent on April 1 – below the norm. nib CEO Mark Fitzgibbon says recent rises in healthcare costs comes with both good and bad news.
"We continue to see year-on-year increases in benefits paid," he began. "On one hand, this is positive, as customers are receiving value from their health insurance for needed treatment. On the other, though, it places upward pressure on premiums."
Time for a change?
Big insurers are not always the best way to go – though sometimes they are. It all depends on your personal situation. Whether you're looking for family health insurance, individual or couple's cover, or a corporate health plan, comparing health insurance is an ideal way to find a cost-effective and quality level of coverage.
That can be time consuming, to say the least. However, HICA is a team of specialists who know where to look and how to broker a good deal. Give us a call before April 1 and we'll do our best for you.