‘I saved $400’: Best health cover for Aussies over 50
Health insurance premiums are about to climb next week and members - particularly those aged over 50 - are being urged to review their cover.
April 1 hikes were delayed by six months but the time has now come for increases to finally kick in October 1.
Experts say it should prompt members - especially older Australians - to check their cover before being slugged.
Grandmother Liz Uren, 62, from Morphett Vale in Adelaide, said she hadn't picked up the phone to her insurer in more than 20 years when back then she removed pregnancy cover.
It wasn't until her income took a severe hit that she picked up the phone.
"I had been with Australian Unity and over the years the pricing had been going up and then I was made redundant in November," Uren says.
"I was paying quarterly but now I'm paying monthly which is easier to keep track of."
Uren said switching insurers has seen her premium fall to $2000 a year - a saving of $400.
"I was covered for things I didn't need like chiropractic, podiatry, acupuncture and remedial massage," she says.
Health comparison website comparethemarket.com.au's general manager of health Anthony Fleming says the best thing over 50s can do is check for unwanted policy inclusions.
"Those in the later stages of life may no longer need cover for obstetrics or assisted reproductive services such as IVF and could save by seeking out a policy that better suits their lifestyle," he says.
But he also warned to check the level of hospital cover - whether it's gold, silver or bronze - because higher cover is usually required by those later in life.
"Health services for treatments of interest to this age group such as joint replacements, rehabilitation, cataracts and major eye surgeries are often covered in these services," Fleming says.
"It could also worth be including major dental to an extras policy to assist with any crowns, bridges or dentures needed.
One way to drive costs down is by increasing a policy's excess charge, this brings down the premium cost but is a higher outlay if a claim is made.
TUH's executive general manager of member experience Cathy McGuane says members should do a quick review of their cover when they receive their private health information statement.
"Funds can change their coverage on products and its important members read this information to make sure the changes have not affected what they need," McGuane says.
"A full review should be done at life stages so over 50s could be for example when they retire, when their kids leave home or when their activity levels change."
She says typically high claiming areas for over 50s including "cardiac, back, neck and spine, joint replacements and cataracts."
• Understand how the October rate rise impacts you.
• Check your policy online or contact your insurer.
• You should also have received correspondence recently from your insurer.
• Check for unwanted inclusions.
• Consider inclusions for life stages.
• Review your excess.
Originally published as 'I saved $400': Best health cover for Aussies over 50