HEALTH insurance members believe the value of their policies is diminishing despite prices continuing to increase annually.
Premiums are set to jump by an average of 3.25 per cent on April 1 and many policyholders will also be hit by falling rebates, meaning they get less money back from the taxman for taking out cover.
Comparethemarket.com.au’s figures estimate this will push a family of four’s hospital and extras cover up about $131 annually and singles by additional $80.
Health insurance changes coming your way in 2019
Mother-of-one Natalie Roberts, 31, has a five-month-old son and believes her family is not getting enough value from their hospital and extras cover after paying $3060 last financial year.
“We have private health just in case we do need to use it,” she said.
“What annoys people is you are paying all this money for health insurance and then you go to use it and you are still paying.”
New independent research compiled for Comparethemarket.com.au found 47 per cent of people deem private health a necessity and 38 per cent say it’s a luxury they cannot afford.
About 34 per cent think their policy is less valuable than it was five years ago.
The health insurance industry is undergoing mass change including classifying hospital cover into gold, silver, bronze and basic categories to make it easier for members to compare.
Comparethemarket.com.au spokeswoman Jenny Williams said the reclassification of hospital cover will eventually make it easier for customers to understand what they were covered for.
“The new system has tiers and it means you will have cover for everything in that clinical category,” she said.
For example, if the clinical category is ear, nose and throat, if it’s listed in your cover you will be covered for everything relating to this.
However, funds have until April next year to implement these categories.
Medibank chief customer officer David Koczkar said the nation’s largest fund would be communicating these changes with all its 3.7 million members by April 2020.
“We are confident we can implement the changes while minimising the disruption for them,” he said.
“We also plan to do half a million check-ins this year to ensure customers are comfortable with their cover.”
HEALTH INSURANCE TIPS
• Check what you are covered for.
• Ring your insurer and ask what value you got in the past year.
• Consider ditching extras.
• Paying one year’s cover before April 1 means you beat the annual price rise.
• Check what rebate, if any, you are entitled to.