Everything you need to know about the changes to private health insurance on April 1

Our simple guide will ensure you're not paying a cent more than you need to!
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If you’re one of the millions of Australians with private health insurance, there are big changes coming into effect on April 1 that you need to know about.

On average, health insurance premiums will increase by 3.25 per cent – and what’s included in your cover will change.

But not every health insurance fund is implementing all these changes. It’s different across the board.

So you can expect a letter in the mail from your health fund, telling you exactly how it affects you.

In the meantime, Now To Love asked iSelect’s Jesse Petterd to explain exactly what is changing.

Find out what you’re actually paying for. (Image: Getty)

1. Your premiums are going up

Health insurance premiums will increase by 3.25 per cent, on average.

That means the fee you pay each month, or annually, will increase.

“Premiums have gone up by 25 per cent in five years,” Jesse said.

“So if you haven’t reviewed your policy in five years, you probably need to look at it.”

2. Gold, silver, bronze and basic tiers to be introduced

At the moment, it can be tricky to figure out exactly what you’re covered for and what is excluded.

So these four new tiers will be introduced – but they apply only to hospital cover, not extras.

“This is to make it easier for you to compare hospital products. You’ll know exactly what’s included in your product so there are no nasty surprises,” Jesse said.

3. Youth discounts

People under 30 will be eligible for a discount on their premium of up to 10 per cent.

However, this will vary between funds.

4. Ability to increase maximum excess

“Customers will have the ability to increase their maximum excess for lower overall premiums, which will hopefully make private insurance more affordable,” Jesse said.

5. Improvements for people living in rural and regional areas

Many people who live in rural and regional Australia face significant travel and accommodation costs if they need to access medical assistance.

Several funds are improving the benefits of this demographic. Check with your fund to see what they offer.

6. Some natural therapies excluded

“Some, but not all natural therapies will now not be covered under your extras,” Jesse said.

“Only remedial massage, exercise physiology, Chinese medicine, myotherapy and acupuncture will remain.”

Here is a list of those natural therapies that are no longer covered:

  • Alexander technique

  • Aromatherapy

  • Bowen therapy

  • Buteyko

  • Feldenkrais

  • Western herbalism

  • Homeopathy

  • Iridology

  • Kinesiology

  • Naturopathy

  • Pilates

  • Reflexology

  • Rolfing

  • Shiatsu

  • Tai chi

  • Yoga

This decision was made after a review undertaken by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), which was tasked with reviewing scientific literature examining the effectiveness, safety and cost effectiveness of 17 natural therapies.

READ NEXT: The dummies guide to home insurance

People who live in rural areas will be better off. (Image: Getty)

Here is a list of exactly how much premiums will increase for the most popular health insurers on April 1:

ahm – 3.3 per cent

Australian Unity – 3.35 per cent

Bupa – 2.99 per cent

Defence Health – 4.5 per cent

GMHBA – 3.31 per cent – 3.96 per cent

HBF – 1.94 per cent

HCF – 3.2 per cent

Medibank – 3.3 per cent

nib – 3.38 per cent

Watch below: Man argues women should pay more health insurance

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Still confused or want to know more?

Step 1: Contact your health insurer

Your health insurance provider has a responsibility to let you know exactly what you’re paying for.

Give them a call and visit their website.

Step 2: Use a comparison service

There are several online tools that can help you easily compare and contrast different health insurance providers.

For example, iSelect comparison service you can access online or over the phone.

“We have highly trained experts who help you cut thorough the confusion and explain exactly how your policy can change,” Jesse said.

“Then, they can even do the changes for you,” she said.

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