Your health insurance needs a revamp – here’s why

10 Feb 2021 5 min read

Your health insurance needs a revamp – here’s why

When was the last time you checked your health insurance policy? If you set it up years ago and haven’t looked at it again, you’re not alone. 

Every insurance policy is not created equal. There are many combinations of Hospital and Extras packages, and they all offer different types and levels of cover. Services you needed five years ago might be irrelevant now.

Plus, 2020 brought more new challenges. Now is the time to make sure you’re paying for the health insurance you actually need. Here are some signs it’s time to reassess.

1. Your lifestyle has changed

Our circumstances are always evolving. Your life probably looks a bit different from when you first took out your policy. Maybe you're slowing down, reading more, likely to need optical care. Maybe you've taken up a new team sport and there's a physio on speed-dial in your future.

There are Extras packages to suit lives at every speed so it's worth checking to make sure you're covered for what you'll actually use.

2. You want a better deal

2019 reforms changed the way hospital insurance is categorised, to give consumers more clarity about what they’re actually covered for. Now that coverage is standardised, it’s easier to compare exactly what’s on offer from different insurers.

The government’s comparison site can help you find a policy that helps you get more for your money, whether that’s more back from Extras or a simpler way to claim. Some funds reward you with bonuses for joining or paying your premium ongoing, with the likes of vouchers and gift cards or even Qantas Points to go towards your next exciting travel adventure.

3. Your 30s are looming

If you’re heading towards the big 3-0, you also have a big decision to make about health insurance. Once you turn 31, you have until July 1 of that year to avoid Lifetime Health Cover Loading. If you don’t sign up for health insurance by that date, you’ll pay an extra 2 per cent on your hospital cover premium for every year you wait.

4. You've let a few health checks lapse

The past six months have been tough. With a medical crisis hanging around, many of us have put other health issues on the backburner. As Australia returns to ‘Covid normal’, you might be contemplating a trip to your dentist or following up a referral to a specialist. 

Before you do, check over your policy to make sure your coverage is up to scratch, or speak to your specialist about what you’re likely to need. Don’t worry, all insurers will recognise waiting periods served on equivalent cover, so you can switch to a more appropriate policy without losing valuable time .

5. You're making exciting post-Covid plans

We’re all spending more time on the ground right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t think about a ‘future us’, stretched out on a tropical beach or discovering new hiding places in an ancient ruin. You might be thinking about a new addition to the family, starting a new job or moving to a new city. Maybe it’s time to finally get that remedial massage you’ve been dreaming about for ages.

Whatever you’re planning, it’s worth checking that you’re covered for the specific services you need. Get it sorted before you need it, so you can enjoy the lockdown-free future without stress.

6. Your family unit looks different now

Whether you’ve moved out of home or the kids have, it’s time to look at who’s still covered. Most insurers have conditions for dependants, meaning over-21s might not be eligible to stay on their parents’ plan – for example, if they have moved into a de facto relationship. Make sure you look at the criteria for families and adjust your policy to suit.

7. You haven't checked your policy for a while

It’s easy to lose track of health insurance in the great, mysterious chaos of life admin. 

Since you last looked at your health insurance, your policy may have changed. Premiums may have gone up, or the details of your coverage might be different. It’s important to keep on top of the specifics, so you know you’re getting the optimum combination of features, rewards and benefits.

You might have changed, too. As we get older, we need new things from our health insurance. Maybe you’re going to need pregnancy care or tooth extraction or cataract surgery. You might have a new health concern that needs to be managed with care and peace of mind. Bear in mind that waiting periods will likely apply to additional cover, so it’s worth factoring these into your plans. 

Whatever your situation, you’ll get the best care if you switch to a policy that gives you what you need. Now is the right time to check in with your insurance and make sure it’s just right for you.

This content was created by Guardian Labs in 2020 as part of a partnership with Qantas.

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