Health fund loyalty could cost Australians more money

Health fund loyalty could cost Australians more money

Health fund loyalty could cost Australians more money A new analysis by a comparison website has suggested that Australians could be blinded by their loyalty to their health fund.

A survey of 2,004 Australians has found that adults stay with the same health fund for an average 11.8 years; while 22% of health fund members do not know how long they’ve been with their current provider.

Bessie Hassan, money expert at finder.com.au, which conducted the survey, said the results were concerning, especially since health insurance premiums have consistently risen on April 01 for the last seven years.

“With health insurance premiums increasing by more than 50% on average since 2010, that’s seven years of annual premium hikes that health members have endured for no reward,” she said.

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Since 2010, the premiums of the four big health funds - NIB, HCF, Medibank, and Bupa - have increased by 48.7%, 46.6%, 45.3%, and 43.7% respectively. Meanwhile, the top five funds that posted the lowest average increases over the same period were all corporate or restricted funds.

“Australians think being loyal to their health fund will earn them discounts and rewards, when in fact they probably just end up paying more,” said Hassan.

According to data captured by the comparison website’s health insurance engine, the average cost of hospital and extras cover in Australia is $4,139 per year.

“As with other financial products, you should review your cover at least every 12 months because you could be missing out on the savings that typically come from shopping around,” said Hassan.

The survey found NSW customers to be the most loyal, with health fund members staying loyal to their provider for 13.3 years on average. Queenslanders moved health insurers at the fastest rate, at an average of every 8.9 years.


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