Finding the best health insurance policy to suit your lifestyle can be confusing, what with excess, extras, rebates, levies and fees to factor into your research. Here are some tips to guide you in the right direction and make finding the right hospital and extras cover as straight forward as possible.
1. Get personal
The easiest way to determine the best level of cover for your needs is by your personal circumstances. Not many 20-somethings will need cataract surgery, and retirees are unlikely to want to straighten teeth with braces. So it makes sense that policies differ to cater to specific life stages – the trick is to get the right cover at the best price.
Most providers divide cover by whether you’re a single, couple or family or over 50, and offer suitable extras within each group. You’ll then be able to select a level of cover to suit your specific needs with a premium to match.
Consider more than simply your current situation when selecting a policy, because thinking about where you’ll be in a few years may be advantageous, given the waiting periods on some extras.
For instance, if you’re a young couple that’s planning to start a family in the future, you may wish to consider baby-related extras in your policy, even if baby plans are still a few years down the track. That’s because you may need to wait as long as 12 months before claiming on certain birthing and antenatal services, depending on your provider. Some of the questions you should be asking yourself include:
- Do I want hospital cover, extras or a combination of the two?
- Which inclusions are must-haves?
- Which level of cover do I require – basic, standard or comprehensive?
- How much can I afford upfront?
- Am I willing to pay excess in exchange for a reduced premium?
2. Shop around
Once you’ve determined exactly the cover you require and have answered the above questions, it’s time to get your mouse hand ready! You could research several health funds’ websites, scribble down prices and then compare quotes manually. Or take the simple path of visiting a financial comparison site, such as RateCity, completing a quick survey and then comparing quotes side by side.
By comparing health insurance online you’ll not only save time, but you’ll also likely save money. That’s because finding a policy which covers only your needs and eliminates any unnecessary extras will generally cost less.
While you may have signed up for the best deal on the market, providers can change their premiums and products so it’s worth reviewing your cover regularly. Also, life is constantly evolving – needs can change in just a few months!
Switching to another provider may be simpler than you realise too. Many people mistakenly believe that by switching to another health fund means re-serving waiting periods, and are therefore hesitant to make the move. But that’s no longer the case. Legislation guarantees that when you switch funds you won’t have to re-serve waiting periods for services that you were covered for with your previous fund, which is known as continuity of cover (it’s worth confirming this with your new provider before signing on the dotted line though).