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How much will my premium increase?

27 March 2013 - 1:13pm

If you have health insurance, you should be aware by now of the private health insurance premium increases that will take place from April 1.

Premiums may increase for various reasons including when hospital, medical or other health related costs rise and if members have increased use of health services.

The Private Health Insurance Ombudsman (PHIO) says that factors leading to cost increases include the cost of medical equipment and technology, wages for nurses and hospital staff, and costly procedures in private hospitals.

Your health fund is required to have notified you in writing if your premium is set to increase, where you will also receive updated policy information with more details about the change.

"If your increase was higher than the average, the fund has been able to demonstrate that the rise is necessary to cover the benefits offered by your policy," the PHIO states.

The Department of Health has released the individual private health insurer average premium increases for 2013, where you can locate the premium increase of your health fund.

The industry average across the Australian health funds was 5.6 per cent - but if you find that you cannot afford the increased premium, there are still some options available to you to maintain private health cover.

You may be able to find a cheaper, alternative health insurance that still meets your needs, by reviewing your current plan.

If you haven't reviewed your health cover in over a year, now is the time to do it, to ensure that you are getting the best value out of your policy.

After reviewing your plan, you may find that there are some extras that you no longer require, and you can save some money by getting this removed.

"For hospital cover, most insurers can offer cheaper options if you are prepared to make a higher initial payment (an excess or co-payment) towards the cost of any hospital admission," the PHIO states.

Comparing health insurance policies may also help you to find a better deal, with your health consultant able to help you with a private health insurance comparison.

If your company has business health insurance you may also find it worthwhile to review your current plan before the premium increase takes effect - but ensure you get to it quick!

Call your health fund today to compare health cover policies and find yourself a better deal.

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