Need to know
- CHOICE has named the most expensive standard Gold policies in Australia. If you have one of these policies, you can get a cheaper deal elsewhere
- You should compare prices on your health insurance every 12 months or so – taking advantage of introductory offers and switching to a better deal can save you hundreds
- The CHOICE Health Insurance Finder is the best place to compare prices as we cover the most funds and we're the only non-profit consumer advocate comparison site
Have you unknowingly ended up with one of the country's most expensive health insurance policies?
Health insurance is a major monthly expense, and with premiums going up every year (despite policies staying mostly the same), it's yet another cost that keeps creeping higher. If you think paying more and more for the same product sounds like a bad deal, we agree!
That's why we've made a list of the most expensive Gold policies in each state, and crunched the numbers to show you how much you could save if you switched to the cheapest equivalent Gold policy. Singles could save anywhere from $600 up to $1360 per year, and if you're a couple or a family, the savings could be even greater.
Premiums to increase further in 2023
With some insurers set to increase their prices on 1 April, and other funds scheduled to increase premiums later in the year, it's vital to check that you have the best value policy for your needs.
If you haven't switched in a while, now's the time to reassess your situation – what was a great deal when you signed up may no longer be the cheapest on offer.
You can also make extra savings by prepaying your annual premium upfront, before the price rises come into effect and by taking advantage of introductory offers for new customers, such as a certain number of weeks of free cover.
And remember that when you switch to a policy with the same level of hospital cover as your current policy, your waiting periods won't be affected.
How to find the best deal on your health insurance
CHOICE health insurance expert Uta Mihm recommends checking to see if you can get a better deal on your health insurance at least once every 12 months, or any time you get a letter from your fund about an increase in your premium.
"It takes just five minutes and can save you hundreds, or even thousands," she says.
"The CHOICE Health Insurance Finder is the best place to compare prices as we cover the most funds and we're the only non-profit consumer advocate comparison site. Some commercial sites compare as few as 10 insurers and generally make money from the insurer if you sign up through them."
The same cover with a different insurer can often be hundreds of dollars cheaperCHOICE health insurance expert, Uta Mihm
When comparing prices, either on a comparison site or through your own research, Uta advises that you make sure you are comparing apples with apples by selecting the correct level of rebate you are getting from the government and the same excess.
"The same cover with a different insurer can often be hundreds of dollars cheaper," she says.
As you can see from our results, the most expensive policies for standard Gold cover are often from the big funds.
"A great tip to save money on health insurance is to look beyond the well-known funds that spend lots on advertising, and consider smaller insurers that are often not-for-profit," says Uta.
"Some of the smaller funds will increase their prices on 1 April while some of the bigger funds are waiting until later in the year. This means if you want to switch to the best policy, now's the time so you can pre-pay and avoid the premium increase," she advises.
A great tip to save money on health insurance is to look beyond the well-known funds that spend lots on advertising, and consider smaller insurers that are often not-for-profitCHOICE health insurance expert, Uta Mihm
All funds allow you to prepay your premium at the current rate for at least 12 months, so if you prepay your full annual premium before the date of the increase, you can delay paying a higher premium for 12 months, leaving more cash in your pocket.
Here's how much you could save in each state by switching from these pricey policies to the cheapest equivalent policy.
The most expensive Silver policies
The largest savings are available for Gold policyholders, but if you have a Silver policy, you can also likely find a cheaper deal that will give you the same cover.
We found the most expensive Silver policy in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania was the Medibank Silver Everyday policy. In Victoria, it's the NIB Priceline Silver Hospital.
"When we looked at the most expensive Silver policies across Australia, we found that if you hold one of those pricey policies, you could save anywhere from $290 up to $1176 per year by switching," says Uta.
... if you're switching to a policy with the same level of cover your waiting times won't be affectedCHOICE health insurance expert, Uta Mihm
"That's money you could have back in your pocket, simply by doing a little research and making a phone call or two.
"Many health insurance funds will manage the switching process for you too, so once you sign up with them, you don't have to call your old insurer to cancel – they'll manage it for you, and if you're switching to a policy with the same level of cover your waiting times won't be affected," she explains.
If you're looking to save money on your premiums, Uta also recommends considering a higher excess when asking for quotes.
"For example, if you're currently paying a premium with a $500 excess (this is the amount you would have to pay if you are making a claim) and you don't anticipate having surgery or needing hospital treatment in the next one or two years, you can save money by increasing your excess to $750," she says.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.