On April 1, 2016, private health insurance premiums will rise by an average 5.59 per cent. However, that is just the median, meaning many will be above that line and many also below it.
Private health insurance premiums will rise by an average 5.59 per cent.
It puts the emphasis on comparing health insurance policies, products and insurers. Health funds have been tasked with increasing their premiums while staying competitive, and Australian policyholders can take advantage of this by looking for a great deal.
It was up to insurers to submit their price changes to the government earlier in the year and plenty have stood out for their larger-than-average annual increases.
Here are the three biggest out of Australia's 34 health funds:
1) CUA Health (8.95 per cent)
The Brisbane-based health fund will put up its premiums by 8.95 per cent, according to Canstar, making it the largest jump out of all insurers.
CUA offers the ability to enter into a type of hybrid health insurance option, where 65, 75 or 90 per cent of hospital costs are covered by insurance, with the remainder coming from the policyholder's pockets.
It's an option to reduce costs, meaning this insurer is not necessarily one to avoid. However, as with all health insurance options, you'll need to balance the cost with quality.
2) Health.com.au (8.81 per cent)
Coming in a close second in terms of the biggest annual premium hike is the online provider Health.com.au with an 8.81 per cent increase.
The health fund has a few cost-cutting facets, though, such as free emergency ambulance transport and $0 excess for children – something for family health insurance policyholders to consider. Again, it's about weighing up the options.
3) Queensland Teachers' Union Health Fund (7.15 per cent)
TUH policyholders will see their premiums rise by 7.15 per cent, Canstar says. The health fund's CEO Rob Seljak says TUH paid 17 per cent more in claims last year than in 2014, forcing them to increase their revenue above the average.
"Each year we review our premium levels to ensure we can continue to provide the quality cover our members expect and deserve," Mr Seljak explained. "Any decision to increase premiums is not made lightly."
He also mentioned that TUH has been increasing premiums below the norm for some time, so this above-average increase is, in essence, them catching up with the rest.
A simple health insurance comparison
It's important to note that these are not necessarily the worst options when it comes to taking out private health insurance; these three funds may indeed be your safest bet in providing you with cost-effective, quality health insurance cover.
However, we do see how complicated making a comparison can be. Before you make any knee-jerk decisions, speak to the experts at HICA. Our team uses its knowledge and networks to find a policy that suits you. Call us on 1300 44 22 01.