More than 80 per cent of health insurance funds are delaying premium increases this year, prompting consumer advocacy group CHOICE to urge Australians to check before pre-paying.
"Pre-paying your health insurance by March 31 is usually a smart way to lock in a lower price, but this year is different, says CHOICE insurance expert Jodi Bird.
"Health funds and comparison sites will push you to pre-pay your premium now, but that only helps if your fund is increasing its premiums on April 1. Don't fall for the health insurance advertising blitz this March and keep your money in your own pocket," said Jodi.
More than two dozen private health funds have announced they will be delaying their 2022 premium increase due to the pandemic. This includes some of the big health insurance funds: nib - September 1, Bupa and Medibank - October 1 and HCF - November 1.
Some funds will also allow you to lock in your premium for up to 18 months by pre-paying your cover.
According to CHOICE, to delay a price increase to your health insurance premium, here's what you need to do:
1. Check if your fund is delaying your premium increase this year. CHOICE has a list on its website
2. Find out how long you can pre-pay for, and what discounts for pre-paying and paying by direct debit are on offer, if any. Contact your fund directly for this information.
3. Make sure you pre-pay before prices increase. Check if a pre-payment date applies with your fund and that your payment is received before the cut-off date.
"Now is also a great time to review your cover and make sure your health insurance actually fits your needs. You might be able to save money by downgrading your cover if your situation has changed or even by switching to a new fund," said Jodi.