More than 13 million Australians have received notice that their private health cover premium is increasing from 1 April, 2017 and the question on everyone's lips is 'why?'
At nib, we're all about transparency, so here are the main reasons why your premium has changed, without all the long-winded descriptions and corporate jargon.
Provider costs are increasing
The first reason is all down to 'inflation', which is the sustained increase in the price of general goods and services. That soy latte you bought for $3.75 in 2012, is probably selling for closer to $4.50 now, your electricity bill has gone up and the car insurance that once cost you $600 is now charging you $699 - typically it's all down to inflation.
It's not just you and nib affected by inflation, but it's everyone from doctors and nurses to chiropractors and dieticians. Because health providers have to pay more money for things like medical equipment, medication and staff (as well as rent, electricity, etc), they may need to increase the prices that they charge for their service.
To break things down into a real-life example, in 2015, the average amount of benefits that nib paid per episode was $3,129. This figure rose by 4% in 2016 to $3,249, so the amount we pay providers to keep you at your healthiest is constantly rising.
At nib, we try and give you all the tools you need to find the right provider for you and your family, which is where our site, Whitecoat comes in handy. Whitecoat is continually growing and allows you to search for healthcare providers in your area, find out what services they offer and see what their other patients have rated them.
More People are Claiming
Throughout 2016, more customers than ever before turned to nib to make a claim and that's exactly why we are here - so you can access and afford the healthcare you need. The more benefits that we give back to customers, means the more we have to charge to cover the costs; however, we know that sometimes little changes in lifestyle can mean big changes in health.
So, when we found out that there was an increase in the amount of expensive and serious surgeries like knee and hip operations, we developed a number of lifestyle programs for our customers to help them avoid invasive medical procedures - it really is a win-win for everyone!
Reduced Government contributions
For many Australians, the Commonwealth Government helps to cover the cost of your health insurance premiums through the Australian Government Rebate on private health insurance (AGR); however, each year the contribution the Government makes to your premium is adjusted. From 1 April, the AGR will decrease which means if you are eligible for this rebate the Government will contribute less to your overall premiums which means you'll be contributing more.
Will the price go up again?
Because the health industry is heavily regulated, the Federal Minister for Health must approve any changes to your premium – and that can only happen once a year. So basically, you won't see any other price changes until April, 2018.
In 2017, nib worked hard to offer our customers the lowest premium increase in 14 years of 4.48%, while the average increase across the industry sits at 4.84%.
How can I save?
We want you to get the best value out of your nib insurance, so we've got three easy ways to start saving straight away.
Firstly, we recommend going to our Online Services page to take a peek at your policy statement, which has some important details such as:
- Who is covered on your policy
- An outline of your premium (including any government surcharges or incentives)
- A health cover summary that shows you all the services that are included and excluded on your cover (as well as how much you can claim for each)
Reviewing your cover is important to make sure that you aren't paying for benefits that you don’t need. If you're not sure that your level of health cover is still appropriate for your changing needs, please call us on 13 16 42.
Another easy way to save money on your policy is by increasing your hospital excess. A hospital excess is the amount you pay towards the cost of a hospital stay before any benefits are payable by nib. Selecting a higher excess means your premiums with nib will be lower.
Did you know that if you choose to pay your nib premium by Direct Debit, you could be eligible for a discount of up to 4%? You can see how you're currently paying your premiums in Online Services.
At nib, our goal is to give our customers access to affordable healthcare and if you want more information or have a question, visit our FAQs page.