What to consider when switching health insurance

14 Sep 2020 5 min read

What to consider when switching health insurance

It’s always good to review your health insurance to make sure the Hospital and / or Extras cover you have is still suitable for your needs. But you might be nervous switching between health funds if you’re not 100% sure that you’ll still be covered or if there will be a problem when you go to make a claim.

Don’t worry - changing health insurance doesn't need to be scary. Below are four key things to consider when switching:

Product coverage

All health funds must make their Hospital covers fall within the product tiers; Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic. The aim is to make it easier for people to compare and choose products across health funds as each level has a standardised set of treatment inclusions (or categories).

Extras products also have different levels within a health fund, and usually, the higher the premium the more services are included and can mean higher annual limits for claims. Unlike Hospital products, there are no mandatory tiers for Extras, and each health fund chooses the name of the product and how they name the services covered in each Extras product, e.g. Dietetics might be called ‘Dietary’ by Fund A, while Fund B refers to it as ‘Dietary Advice’.

When looking to change cover, either within your current health fund, or to a new one, make sure you are looking at what services you have now and what you want - or don’t want - covered in the future. For example, you may currently have pregnancy included in your Hospital cover, but if you’re not planning to have any more children then you may want to look at other levels of cover that don’t include it, which might mean a lower premium and could save you money.

Our friendly team at Qantas Health Insurance can help you compare your current cover (with us or one from another fund) and recommend suitable products that meet your needs. If we think your current product is better for you - then we’ll tell you to stay where you are as it’s important you have a product that’s right for you. To discuss your cover options and earn some Qantas Points, try our online Switching Assistant. Just fill in the form and take the phone call from one of our team members, and you could earn 1,000 Qantas Points .

Price

Each year on 1 April, all health funds usually make changes to their prices. The price change is usually an increase, but some products may stay the same price, or go down. These are influenced by lots of different factors, and many of them are out of the control of individual health funds. But prices must be approved by the Federal Government before the 1 April change. This is the only time health funds can change their prices each year, so if you switch health funds at any time - you can be assured that your price won’t increase until the following 1 April. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Qantas Health Insurance deferred their price changes for six months, to 1 October 2020.

Tip: Looking to save money - check how much your Hospital excess is. Choosing a higher excess will reduce your Hospital premium (although you’ll pay more up front if you’re admitted to hospital).

Waiting periods

A waiting period is the time-frame you have to wait before you can start claiming benefits on your cover, and it applies to both Hospital and Extras cover. You may not know this, but maximum waiting periods for Hospital services are not set by your individual health fund, they’re set by the Federal Government. Waiting periods for Extras cover are set by the health funds and most of these are 2, 6, or 12 months.

Typically waiting periods are applied when:

  • You first take out private health insurance;

  • You switch to a higher level of cover (either with your current health fund or to a new one); or

  • You have not fully served waiting periods on your previous cover (the balance of the waiting period will still apply when you switch).

When you take out private health insurance for the first time, you will need to serve the standard waiting periods for the level of cover you choose. Each service that’s covered within the different Hospital and Extras covers will have a waiting period. These generally range from 1 day to 12 months, with a couple of items having a wait of 36 months.

If you’re switching to a similar or lower level of cover (either with your current health fund or a new one) the waiting periods you’ve already served on comparable services will be recognised so you don’t need to re-serve them . That means you can start claiming straight away for those services where you’ve already served the waiting periods.

If you’re switching to a higher level of cover, with higher limits or new services (either with your current fund or to a new one), you’ll need to wait before you can claim - but just on the part of the treatments or limits that are new, or if you haven’t fully served any waiting periods from your previous cover.

From time to time you may see advertising offers to waive 2 & 6 month waiting periods. This will generally only apply to Extras services and only when you take out combined Hospital and Extras cover. This offer is great for people that are new to private health insurance as they can start claiming straight away for those services, but it can also be good for people who are switching between funds and upgrading their cover .

When switching to Qantas Health Insurance, we’ll take care of most of the paper work with your previous health fund and let you know if you need to serve any additional waiting periods. That way you’ll have the confidence knowing what you are / are not covered for.

Additional benefits

As an added bonus, some health funds may also provide other member benefits such as discounts with partner brands, vouchers, and more.

When it comes to rewards, no other health insurance comes with Qantas Points. Qantas Health Insurance offers Qantas Points for joining and paying your premium . Plus, with the Qantas Wellbeing App, you can start earning Qantas Points for everyday activities like walking, running and even sleeping . You can even boost your motivation - and your points - by inviting friends and family and setting up challenges. And if you hold a Qantas Health Insurance policy, you can increase your earning potential with up to 20,000 Qantas Points per year in the App for each member covered under the policy .

Qantas Health Insurance members with a family policy can also access the Active Kids program. This program offers 1,000 Qantas Points per child per sport each year (up to two sports per child) – that’s 2,000 Qantas Points per child covered on eligible policies . To claim the benefit, you just need to register via the Qantas Wellbeing App by selecting the “Offers” tab, tap “Active kids rewards” and follow the prompts to register your child.

If you are thinking about switching health funds or changing cover - call our Qantas Health Insurance team on 13 49 60 and they can help you find the right level of cover that suits your needs and budget. Or you can get a quote online by clicking the link below.

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