Juggling your changing health needs on a budget

Your health insurance needs can change regularly and often unpredictably. The level of cover you need depends on your life stage and the people you have responsibility for. Remember, private health is all about peace of mind when life throws a curveball at you.

That’s why you need to ensure that you’re on a plan that suits your ever changing needs. While private health insurance premiums continue to rise, there are ways to cut out unnecessary costs to ensure you’re getting as much value for money as possible.

The April 1 premium rise means that your health insurance rates are set to rise by an average of 4.84% – and in some cases even higher. With this in mind,  iSelect expert Laura Crowden breaks down how to win at private health insurance on a budget by following four simple steps:

Step 1: You make the rules

Play the offset game. Many people who shop around ahead of April 1 find that they not only offset the premium rise by getting a better value deal with a new policy or fund but even save money. With many insurers in the market, some are offering attractive deals in a bid to win your business. Just make sure you’re not sacrificing quality coverage to save money.

Step 2: Watch the game

Sit back and look at the stage you’re at in life. Make sure your policy suits where you are and what your medical needs might be, especially if they are regularly changing. Avoid being a set-and-forgetter, which can result in not being covered for what you need and paying for things you don’t. For example, if you have adult children ensure you’re not wasting money on coverage for them when they might be at an age where they now have (or should have!) their own policy.

Step 3: Extra time is a must

This a great time of the year to review your health insurance costs by reconsidering your extras. If you use a range of different extras it’s worth investigating a flexible extras policy that combines your separate extras limit into a single annual limit for you to use across different services. Make sure that the extras you are paying for are ones that you actually need, and that you’re not still covered for something like orthodontics when your children have already been through the financially painful process of braces.

Step 4: Save as many goals as you can 

Got some savings? Pay up front to lock in this year’s rates for another year. If you pay your annual premium upfront before April 1, you can lock in your 2016 premium for another 12 months. You’ll take a bit of a hit to your wallet now, but it’ll do you good in the long run.

So now you have less than two weeks to play the private health insurance game and have a think about both what you need from your policy and where you could potentially save money before April 1.   It’s worth it to make sure you don’t drop the ball when it comes to juggling your health needs on a budget.