How to manage rising private health insurance costs on a single income

How to afford health insurance

You can’t put a price on health, right?  Well, when it comes to private health insurance you sort-of can.  And it’s not exactly cheap!  Private health insurance premiums went up an average of 4.84% back in April and since 2010, premiums have risen on average by more than 50 per cent.

It’s hardly surprising that many Aussie families are struggling with the rising cost of private health insurance.  And if you are a single parent family with just one income, private health insurance can seem like a luxury that is becoming harder and harder to afford.

So if you are single parent family, what are your options to keep costs down without having to drop your private cover altogether?  Laura Crowden from iSelect – Health Insurance explains how single mums can find the best policy on a more limited budget.

Health insurance tips for single parents

Make sure you are on a single parent health insurance policy

Many private health funds have policies especially designed for single parents and their kids and there is no limit to the number of children you can have covered under a single parent policy.

But the cost of single parent policies can vary quite a lot between funds so it’s well worth comparing your options and shopping around to find the best value single parent policy.

For example, with some insurers a single parent policy is only a bit more expensive than a single policy and much cheaper than a family policy, while other funds charge single parents almost as much as a family despite only having one adult on the policy.  And some don’t offer any discount at all to single parents.

And remember, just like other policies you can take out a combined single parent policy (covering your family for both hospital and extras) or just hospital or extras-only.

Look for extra value with health insurance

Single parents struggling with the rising cost of private health insurance should make sure they are getting really good value for money and making the most of their policy. Those balancing a tight family budget should look for policies that waive the hospital excess for kids.

Carefully review your extras and make sure you aren’t paying for anything that you don’t need.  With more expensive cover like orthodontics, you can always add it on down the track.

Remember the real value of private cover is the peace of mind.  You can’t put a price on the knowledge that you or your kids will be looked after if you experience a serious health problem, particularly when you don’t have a partner to rely on.

Change your policy if your circumstances change

If you do remarry or begin a serious relationship down the track, it’s worth moving across to a family policy with your new partner.  A family policy will generally be cheaper than keeping your cover separate by having one partner on single policy, and the other with the kids on a single parent policy.

And if your relationship with your ex is still very amicable (and they haven’t re-partnered or started a new family) then you could consider staying together on a family policy. Some separated parents decide to keep their family health insurance as it works out cheaper overall.

Take the hassle out of private health

Private health insurance is really confusing and busy single mums have a lot better things to do with their time than comparing hundreds of different policies and providers. And if you are struggling with rising premiums, don’t simply cancel your policy without taking the time to see if you could get a much better deal with a different provider.  A private health insurance expert like iSelect will do the hard work and compare health insurance options for you – and the best bit is, their advice is provided at no cost!

Health insurance for mum and daughter

iSelect’s top tips private health insurance for families   

  • Make sure your policy grows with your family – as your kids grow up, it’s important to review your cover and update if needed. For example, teenagers may need cover for orthodontics or glasses. Not checking your policy regularly could result in not being covered for things you need or paying for things you don’t need.

 

  • Review the extras – if you aren’t using them, why pay for them? Also consider flexible extras products that combine your separate extras limits into a single annual limit for you to use across different services.

 

  • Payment discounts – some funds offer discounts for paying by direct debit, rather than credit card.

 

  • Look for family freebies – some funds offer free dental check-ups while others waive excesses for kids going into hospital. And check out what kind of ‘preventative’ health benefits your fund offers – some offer discounts on things like swimming lessons, hats and even sunscreen!

 

  • Waiting periods are protected – many people think that by changing policy or provider they’ll lose their hospital benefit waiting periods but this simply isn’t true. Any hospital benefit waiting periods you’ve already served will be protected by law if you switch to an equivalent or lower level of hospital cover.

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