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HICA's Top 5 Health Insurance Tips

HICA's top 5 tips to help you get the most from your health insurance and save.

1. Review your cover

Many people join a health fund and then never get around to reviewing their cover.  Over time, people’s health care needs change – and health funds often change the benefits and premiums of their policies.  So after you’ve been a member of a policy for a few years, the policy you have may no longer be the best one for you.  It’s important to have a good look at your needs every year to make sure your cover is best suited to your requirements.  You can undertake the review yourself or you can use HICA’s free, no obligation review service.  HICA's health cover health check.

2. Switch funds

Most people can name only 4 or 5 health funds – and they probably belong to one of those.  But there are dozens of health funds operating in Australia – many with exceptionally competitive covers and premiums.  And you don’t need to be afraid of switching funds.  Legislation now gives health fund members the right to switch funds on the same level of cover - without having to serve new waiting periods in most cases – even if there’s a pre-existing illness or condition.  Learn more about switching health funds.

3. Mix ‘n' match

You don’t have to buy your hospital cover and extras cover from the same health fund.  By separating theses 2 policies, you will have a much broader range of options to choose from.  With HICA’s help, you can often arrange each component with a different fund to give you more appropriate cover, better rebates and premium savings.

4. Select an excess

By choosing an excess on your hospital cover, you agree to pay part of the bill if you go to hospital.  In return, the health fund gives you lower premiums.  Excesses can range from $100 up to $1000.  The more you agree to pay (i.e. the higher the excess) the lower your premiums will be.  So if you’re unlikely to need to go to hospital, choosing an excess is a great way to save.

5. Save tax

The Medicare Levy Surcharge is an extra tax of 1.00%, 1.25% or 1.50% (depending on income tier) and is in addition to the normal 1.5% Medicare Levy.  You have to pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge if you don’t have eligible hospital cover and have an annual taxable income* in the 2013-14 Financial Year of greater than $88,000 for singles; or greater than $176,000 for families (the family income threshold increases by $1,500 for each dependent child after the first). So singles with a Medicare Levy Surcharge liability can expect to pay an extra tax of at least $840 pa and families will pay $1680 pa or more.  Learn more about Medicare Levy Surcharge.

*Taxable income for Medicare Levy Surcharge purposes includes Reportable Fringe Benefits.


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