Sponsored Health funds are writing a letter you don’t want to miss
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Health funds are writing a letter you don’t want to miss

All health fund members should check their mailboxes before April 1. Photo: Getty
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Millions of letterboxes across Australia will shortly be filled with one very important piece of mail – and you can’t risk missing it.

Health insurance policyholders will soon be contacted about significant changes to health insurance policies, many of which are set to be implemented on April 1.

The proposed reform will replace the current system by classifying hospital products into four tiers of cover: Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic – each with different minimum levels of cover.

As one of the biggest overhauls to health insurance in the past decade, Australians are being warned to take the time to compare their cover, and read any correspondence being sent to them by their fund.

Funds will also tell you how much they are increasing your premiums.

Here’s how you do it

Step 1: Visit HealthInsuranceComparison.com.au

Step 2: Once you select your preferred coverage options, you will have the opportunity to compare quotes from multiple health funds.

Basic category products will have the least cover, and Gold products the highest. There will also be two ‘Plus’ categories. Silver Plus will have more than Silver but less than Gold, and Bronze Plus more than Bronze but less than Silver.

“All Australian health fund customers should make sure they stay on top of the new changes being announced this coming April,” explained Jonathan Leane, founder of Health Insurance Comparison.

“Though some funds will only implement small changes, others are planning to carry out a major reformatting of their current policy structure. It’s vital that moving forward, all policyholders remain aware of how the changes may affect them and their families.”

Descriptions of what is included and excluded within a policy are also going to be standardised across all health funds.

The Private Health Insurance (Reforms) Amendment Rules 2018 outlines the minimum standards set by the government for each tier.

“There has understandably been quite a bit of confusion and angst surrounding the changes. Many health funds are already sending out emails to warn their customers about perceived loss of cover under the new system,” Mr Leane said.

Though the changes are meant to make it less difficult for policyholders to compare different products that suit their needs, the process has also led to the removal of some services from some policies, and some treatments altogether.

Sixteen natural health therapies, such as aromatherapy, iridology and yoga, will no longer be claimable treatments.

Despite this loss, the reform will particularly benefit women with breast cancer, as all medically necessary breast surgery will be included in all Bronze-tier products and above.

Insurers will also be able to offer discounts of up to 10 per cent for young people up to the age of 30 – a discount that can be retained until the age of 41, but only if the policyholder remains on the same policy.

The maximum excess fee that can be included in policies for hospital admissions has increased from $500 up to $750 for singles, and for couples and families a significant rise of up to $1500 (from $1000).

So what does this mean for you?

The challenge we all face is how to best work out exactly what we will, and won’t, be covered for from April 1.

“This may present a good opportunity for policyholders to reassess what they need to be covered for once the new policies come into effect,” Mr Leane suggests.

“There is the potential that customers could actually save more on their policies if they compare before April 1. Many Australians could still be paying for unnecessary services, or have an important service not included under their old cover.

At Health Insurance Comparison, we see the proposed changes as a positive opportunity to better understand the system and reduce the strain on your wallet. That’s why we’re offering free comparison to all Australian policyholders before April 1. It’s a really great time to compare, because both policies are changing and rates are increasing”.

What now?

  • Consider your family history and any potential health risks moving forward.
  • Consider your life stage, and whether you’re keen to start a family or no longer have children, as this could change the price of your policy.
  • Consider the services you’ve claimed for previously. Do you still need the same level of cover?
  • Consider comparing your current cover with a company you can trust.

Following these suggestions may help you to better understand the cover that’s right for you. Just remember to read your health fund letter when it arrives, and jump into action before April 1.

Hurry! Compare your cover today and discover what you could be saving.