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A guide to saving money on your health insurance cover

5 minute read
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Your health is one of the most valuable assets you’ll ever have. Getting private health insurance is a great way to ensure you’ll have the right financial support when you need it most, but your cover shouldn’t be set and forget.

If you’re looking for ways to reduce the price of your health insurance premium, a few small changes can make a big difference. At nib, we believe your health cover should be simple, easy to use and value for money; so we’ve put together a list of things that could help you save today.

How can you save money on health insurance?

  • Choose a cover that suits your personal needs and situation
  • Check your excess
  • Take advantage of age-based discounts
  • Take out cover before your 31st birthday
  • Set up direct debit payments
  • Utilise the nib First Choice network

1. Choose a cover that suits your personal needs and situation

Your hobbies, interests and taste in music can change as you get older, and your health needs are no different. If you want to ensure you’re getting the best value on your private health insurance, it’s important to review your cover regularly.

If your family is complete, now might be a good time to change to a policy that doesn’t include pregnancy cover. Or, if you’ve recently given up marathon running for good, you might not need as high a level of Extras cover for the physio (unless you’ve taken up rugby instead).

As we experience each new stage of life, our health needs can change, so save yourself some cash and make sure you're not paying for cover you don't need.

A young woman listening to music and typing on a laptop

2. Check your excess

Just like with your car or home insurance, excess is an amount of money you agree to pay for a hospital stay before health insurance benefits are payable. Generally speaking, choosing a higher excess means you’ll pay less for your health cover.

Thanks to the upcoming Government-initiated reforms, from 1 April 2019 nib members will be given the option to increase their excess limit from $500 to $750 for singles, and $1,000 to $1,500 for couples or families. So, if you’re with nib, you’ll be able to opt for a higher level of excess in return for a lower premium.

If you’re with another health fund, this might not apply as it’s an optional part of the upcoming reforms. To find out more, visit our private health insurance reforms FAQs.

3. Take advantage of age-based discounts

If you’re under the age of 30 on 1 April 2019, you’re in luck. When the upcoming reforms are introduced, nib members aged 18-29 will automatically receive discounts of up to 10% on their private hospital insurance premiums.

This reform is called an age-based discount and it’s also an optional reform, which means other health funds might not be implementing it, or could be applying it to some (but not all) products. If you’re an eligible nib member, you won’t have to miss out, because we’ll be adding this discount to almost every hospital insurance product.

Our eligible members1 will receive a 2% discount for every year that they’re aged less than 30, up to a maximum of 10% for those aged 18-25. And, the best part is if they remain on an age-based discount policy, they’ll retain that discounted rate until they turn 41, where it will then be gradually phased out at a rate of 2% per year.

4. Take out cover before your 31st birthday

If you don’t currently have private health insurance, and you’re under the age of 31, then there’s no better time to take out cover. Why? Because if you don’t have private hospital cover by 1 July following your 31st birthday, you might have to pay a Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading in addition to your premium.

The LHC is a Government initiative put in place to encourage people to take out private hospital cover earlier on in life. For every year you delay after turning 31, you’ll be charged a 2% loading on top of your premium when you take out a policy. With the LHC loading lasting for 10 years and at a maximum of 70%, it’s definitely worth avoiding if you can.

Our Lifetime Health Cover article has more information on the topic if you’re preparing to blow out 31 candles.

If you want to get the best value from your private health insurance, review your cover regularly

5. Set up direct debit payments

If you set up automatic direct debit payments from your bank, building society or credit union cheque or savings account, you might be eligible for a discount of up to 4% on your nib premium.2 Simply login to Online Services to add or update your direct debit details.

6. Utilise the nib First Choice network

To keep your out of pocket expenses low when visiting a dentist or optometrist, our nib First Choice network should be your first port of call. It’s our community of specially-selected health providers who have agreed to provide nib members with quality healthcare at an affordable price.

You can choose to see the dentist or optical provider of your choice, but by choosing an nib First Choice provider, it simply means you could pay less. Search the nib First Choice network now to find a provider.

At nib, we encourage members to talk to our expert team about developing a policy that best suits their needs and budget. If you're not sure your current cover meets your needs, but don't know where to start, contact us – we’re here to help.

1To be an eligible member you must be aged between 18 and 29 (inclusive) and not a dependent child under the age-based discount policy.

2Discount not available on Ambulance Only cover

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