Health insurance premiums rose by 3.25 per cent on April 1.
Health insurance premiums rose by 3.25 per cent on April 1.

How to switch health insurers

HEALTH insurance premiums rise today but members should remember they can switch funds at any time.

The average premium rise to hit consumers this year is 3.25 per cent and it's during the biggest shake-up of the health insurance industry in decades.

Funds must reclassify hospital cover into gold, silver, bronze and basic categories by April 2020, leaving many consumers confused about which tier their cover will fall under.

Policy-holders looking to jump funds need to be mindful of any waiting periods and discounts that may apply with their existing insurer before jumping ship.

For many members extras cover waiting periods are often a couple of months, while for hospital cover waiting periods of up to 12 months apply for expenses such as obstetrics.

Medibank chief customer officer David Koczkar said it was easy to switch funds.

"Ring another fund and get a quote and say, 'I want to join' and you join them," he said.

"Usually they will take all your details and history and you then will be covered by the fund you are going to."

Switching health insurers should be relatively easy to do if you do want to change providers.
Switching health insurers should be relatively easy to do if you do want to change providers.

A transfer certificate must be completed by the member's old health fund and sent to the new fund within 14 days of the member explaining they are leaving.

However if the member does not advise their old fund which fund they are moving to - if any - the transfer certificate will be sent directly to them.

NIB chief executive Mark Fitzgibbon said once funds were aware you were switching to another fund they would likely call to try and keep you.

"You can still say you've made your decision, but it's a fairly painless and seamless process to switch," he said.

Mr Fitzgibbon said now was typically the busiest time of year for switching funds because members were prompted to take action once they received their annual premium notices.

sophie.elsworth@news.com.au

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