Get the most value out of your private health insurance
• Average cost of a family policy: $436.64 monthly / $5239.63 annually
• Average cost of a couples policy: $426.09 monthly / $5113.08 annually
• Average cost of a single parent family policy: $374.25 monthly / $4490.95 annually
• Average cost of a single policy: $205.90 monthly / $2470.78 annually
Comparethemarket.com.au reveals six top tips for getting the most value out of your private health insurance:
• Two single policies in place of a couples policy can help you save - if you're a couple with basic hospital cover and you decide to start a family, then it can be more cost effective to take out two single policies (with only the woman's including birth-related services) than it is to go on a couples policy with birth-related services.
• Do your homework on extras cover - The amount of money you can claim back from your extras cover varies from fund to fund, so make sure you research claimable returns. It can be better value to choose a fund that pays out a percentage of your bill for each treatment (e.g. 60 per cent) rather than a fixed amount (e.g. $30).
• Choose a fund that is valuable to your particular life stage - if you've got kids then it can be beneficial to go with funds that throw in some helpful 'freebies'. Some policies offer free "scale and cleans" for kids or others will waive excesses for children altogether.
• Remember to claim - the cost of your private health insurance is a balance between the premium and your potential returns through claims. You must claim to ensure your return on investment, particularly with extras policies. When booking treatments, check if they offer HICAPS as this gives you an immediate claim. The risk of claiming at a later date is you might forget altogether.
• Tailor your health policy to suit you - Request your annual claims statement from your current health fund to find out what you claimed for over the last 12 months. If your claimable benefits were much lower than the premium you paid, then perhaps it's time to think about switching to a policy that's more relevant to your needs.
• Make the most of payment discounts - Keep your eyes peeled for funds that offer a discount if you elect to pay by direct debit. Some funds offer up to 4 per cent off your annual premiums if you set up an automatic direct debit from your bank, building society or savings account.