Switching Cover

When should I review my cover?

The Ombudsman recommends it’s worthwhile reviewing your health insurance at least once a year and comparing it with other policies offered by your fund and other health insurers.

This is particularly important if your circumstances change or your health fund changes the:

  • benefits they pay;
  • services included on your policy; or
  • providers they have contracts with.

How do I review my cover?

The Government’s Private Health website is the most comprehensive comparison tool. You can also speak with health funds directly, to discuss which policy is best suited to you.

How do I change health insurers?

Thousands of people change health insurers each year, so it’s simple to switch.

Once you’ve picked a new health insurer, they normally do the ‘admin’ for you – such as cancelling with your old health insurer, ending your direct debit and requesting your clearance certificate.

This process can take a couple of weeks, so if the direct debit with your old health insurer is due soon you might end up paying premiums for overlapping dates.  If this is the case, discuss your options with your new health insurer (which may include delaying your start date or receiving a refund from your old health insurer).

Will I be charged more because of my conditions?

Unlike other types of insurance, private health insurance is ‘community rated’. This means everyone pays the same price for the same policy regardless of age, health status or other risk factors.

This contrasts with other types of insurance such as car and life insurance which are risk rated and influenced by factors such as your driving record, age etc.

For example, a single, healthy 20 year-old and a single, unwell 60 year-old will both pay the same base premium for the same cover. The final premium may differ if an insured person recieves a private health insurance rebate, or where Lifetime Health Cover is applied to their premium. However, the cost of premiums for similar cover may also vary between health insurers.

‘Community Rating’ was developed by the Australian Government to make sure that people with a higher level of claims are not disadvantaged – for example, if you have a history of health issues, this does not mean you should pay a much higher premium. Private health insurance is there to cover everyone, whether you have a health condition or not. Community rating means that everyone is entitled to buy the same product, at the same price, and is guaranteed the right to renew their policy.

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