If you’re in Australia, you’ll be wondering how the Health Insurance Reforms affect your family – it’s something I’ve been considering for a few months.
After an email hit my inbox late last year, the first question I had was if my (already high!) health insurance cost was going to increase and how my policy would change.
My health insurance provider has, so far, been drip feeding me information on the changes, first pointing out the things we will no longer be able to claim for.
This week, I’ve been emailed an article from them on how the Federal Government’s Private Health Insurance reforms (PHI Reforms) are going to help our family. I want to know if our health insurance premium rates will rise and what we are now no longer eligible to claim on our private health cover.
Have you had any communications from your provider?
I’ve teamed up with iSelect, Australia’s Health Insurance comparison website, who have let me know how these changes to health care plans will affect Aussie families.
The biggest change to private health insurance in more than a decade is happening on 1 April 2019 and iSelect tell me that this will impact the more than 55% of Australians – around 14 million Aussies – who currently have some form of private health insurance.
The Upcoming Health Premium Rise and Reforms
The Health Insurance premium increase
Health Insurance premiums will go up on 1 April by an average of 3.25% which works out to around $135 a year on an average family policy.
Since I first moved to Australia, over a decade ago, I’ve noticed that my own private health insurance cost has increased dramatically over time. iSelect tell me that premiums have risen on average by more than 26% over the past five years.
This increase is still well above the rate of inflation (1.9% in January 2018) and equates to:
- $135 extra a year on an average family policy
- $62 extra a year on an average singles policy
- $151 extra a year on an average couples’ policy
However, it isn’t just your health insurance prices going up, there are more changes taking place this year.
Changes to your Health Insurance Policy
As well as private health insurance premium increases, what your policy entitles you to will also be changing.
iSelect advises that from 1 April, many health insurance policies will change as a result of the introduction of Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic tiers for hospital policies. These new product tiers are designed to make it easier to understand private health insurance but in the short-term, many customers may be confused about what their policy does and does not cover from April 1.
Another big change is that from April 1, most natural therapies will be removed from extras policies.
Those natural therapies no longer covered include:
- Alexander technique
- Bowen therapy
- Tai chi
Some natural therapies will still be covered though, including Chinese medicine, natural therapy and remedial massage.
It’s confusing to know what will and won’t be included but it’s something I’m getting my head around now.
Over the years, we’ve tried to ensure that we’ve ‘gotten our moneys’ worth when it comes to our health insurance. Which is NOT to say we’ve relished needing to make claims when we’ve been unwell or needed hospital stays.
But we’ve gone through the policy with a fine-toothed comb to ensure that we are claiming to everything we’re entitled to.
Now we need to check, in detail, how our policy is changing and where we might be out of pocket.
Just when you get grips with what you’re entitled to, it all changes, right?!
How to find out how the Health Insurance increase affects you
Hopefully, you will also have started to receive communication from your provider about the insurance premium increase that starts in April.
Give them a call to find out what this means for your policy and check out iSelect because their knowledge covers many other health insurance providers in Australia.
iSelect’s private medical insurance comparison allows you to compare your current provider with others to ensure you get the best deal.
Checking this out before April means we can make an informed decision on any changes we need to make before the changes come into effect.
Are the Health Insurance Reforms changes beneficial to Australian families?
The PHI reforms are designed to make private health insurance more affordable for many Australians. From April 1, you will also have the option to increase your maximum excess (from $1000 to $1500 for families) in exchange for lower premiums which could save you up to $350 a year. But the higher excess won’t be offered on all policies which is why it’s worth shopping around.
Being able to compare the policies of different providers will help us understand whether we need to change our policy to keep certain benefits and decide which option best suits our family.
Related: How we do a Health Insurance Review
How can iSelect help?
iSelect’s highly trained private health insurance experts can help cut through the confusion and explain exactly how your policy is changing both in terms of price and what it covers.
They can compare your current policy to a range of others and select the best value one for your needs and budget. If you decide to switch, they’ll take care of the whole process for you, saving you time, effort and money.
You can call iSelect on 13 19 20 or go online https://www.iselect.com.au/ to compare select and save your private health insurance.
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How do the Health Insurance Reforms affect your family?