What does the rate rise postponement mean for me?
Most private health funds have cancelled or postponed their annual premium increase until at least 1 October 2020.
The announcement was made by Private Healthcare Australia (PHA) which collectively represents 97% of people covered by private health insurance nationally.
Social distancing measures put in place to combat COVID-19 have resulted in large savings for insurers due to the forced closure of many extras providers and the cancellation of elective surgeries.
There have also been concerns of mass cancellations due to the widespread financial hardship caused by the pandemic.
Which funds have already agreed to postpone the rate rise?
As of 9 April 2020, the following funds have already agreed to postpone or cancel their rate rise, and others may well follow suit.
- Australian Unity
- CBHS Corporate
- CBHS Health
- Defence Health
- Doctors’ Health
- GU Health
- Health Partners
- Mildura Heath
- Navy Health
- Nurses & Midwives Health
- Peoplecare Health
- Phoenix Health
- Queensland Teachers’ Union
- Railway & Transport Health
- St. Luke’s Health
- Teacher’s Health
- Transport Health
If you do not see your provider in the list above, be sure to visit their website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information.
What does this mean for my premium?
If your health fund has agreed to the price freeze, this means you will continue to pay your 2019 premium until you are told otherwise by your insurer.
Prior to the outbreak, premiums were due to increase by an average of 2.92%, which is the smallest annual increase since 2001.
It is likely the price increase will come into effect on October 1 2020, meaning singles will pay on average an additional $35 per year, with families paying an extra $103 more, according to the Minister for Health.
While the price freeze is in place, now is a great time to review your health insurance and compare what other providers are offering to ensure you’re paying the right price for the right cover.
Are health insurers offering any other relief?
Many health funds are also extending additional help to their members in the wake of the ongoing issues caused by the virus.
The following measures are being provided by some funds:
- Offering comprehensive coverage at no additional cost
- Giving members the ability to suspend their policies
- Offering members to access relief on their premiums
- Providing mental health support via additional phone lines
Get in touch with your fund to learn more about what additional support you could be receiving.
Will this affect my level of cover?
No, you will still have access to the same level of cover you had prior to the announcement.
Will I be covered for costs related to COVID-19?
If your fund is represented by Private Healthcare Australia, and you hold any hospital policy, you will be eligible for full hospital coverage if you are affected by coronavirus.
If you are not a member of a PHA fund visit your funds’ website for more information regarding coronavirus.
How can I continue to save on my health insurance?
While the price of private health insurance won’t change for the next six months, after the freeze period it’s expected some insurers may increase premiums by as much as 5.6%.
There’s never been a better time to review your health insurance and compare against our panel of providers to ensure you’re prepared for the expected price hike.
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This article is opinion only and should not be taken as medical or financial advice. Check with a financial professional before making any decisions.
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