Older people hit hardest by health insurance rises

Older people hit hardest by health insurance rises

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Elderly people find it hardest to cope with the health insurance price rise.

Elderly people find it hardest to cope with the health insurance price rise.

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MANY of the postcodes paying the most for their private health insurance are home to older people on fixed incomes that are less than half the national median income.

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MANY of the postcodes paying the most for their private health insurance are home to older people on fixed incomes that are less than half the national median income.

New research by comparethemarket.com.au analysed a year's worth of the company's sales data across Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, to pinpoint the postcodes that pay the most for their health insurance yet have some of the lowest monthly household incomes.

For example, Brisbane's Bribie Island, which has a huge retirement community pays, pays 50 per cent more for health insurance compared to Brisbane's overall average.

Looking to Melbourne, and Dingley Village residents could be paying 45 per cent more for their health cover.

An independent survey of 500 respondents showed that:

  • 67% of over-65s struggle to afford private health insurance as the cost increases each year
  • 46% say they actively cut back on other costs (such as groceries and holidays) to afford health cover
  • 36% of respondents said private health insurance is more important than their car insurance.

Top tips for seniors include:

1. Use government rebates and concessions: As you get older, the amount you receive from the rebate increases. Once you turn 65, you may qualify for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, a concession card for seniors to subsidise the cost of medical treatments and services.

2. Shift your health priorities: The older we become, the more our health and lifestyle priorities begin to change. This means our health policy should adapt to change with us. Services such as pregnancy won't be applicable to older people so they should drop this service from their policy and add treatments they might need to be covered for, which could include joint replacement (hips, knees, etc), prostheses and cardiac surgery. Furthermore, pregnancy is usually bundled into top level cover, so it's important if this service is no longer required to shop around for a policy where it is excluded and save on costs.

3. Adjust your policy to fit your lifestyle: Take a look at the type of health policy you are currently on. Does it reflect your marital status or living situation? For example, if you're still covered by a family health policy but you're paying extra to have your children on the policy and your situation has changed, it might be time to consider switching to a couple or singles policy, which may be more affordable. It's important to adapt your health cover as your living situation or marital status changes. This can save you a lot of money down the track.

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