New research has revealed the lengths Australians go to in order to save money on their health insurance.
A finder.com.au survey of 2,085 Australians found that 60% of health insurance policyholders, or 6.8 million people, have taken action to save on their cover, with 19% of respondents opting to pay for the whole year upfront before the Apr. 1 premium increase.
A further 16% opted to buy the most basic cover, while a savvy 10% regularly switch their insurer to get the best value out of their policy. Other actions taken by money-saving policyholders include not taking out extras, being on a couples’ policy, and increasing excess.
The study also revealed that a worrying 9% of women and 7% of men have ditched their hospital cover to save money.
Bessie Hassan, health insurance expert, said there are ways to save money on insurance without dropping cover altogether.
“In many cases there is a tax penalty for not having hospital cover in place, so ditching health insurance is not necessarily the most cost-effective solution,” Hassan said. “Dropping to a lower level of cover, removing unnecessary inclusions from a policy, and switching providers are all ways in which Australians can get a better deal on their health insurance.”
The findings come as a recent finder.com.au analysis of APRA data revealed that the proportion of insured Australians has dropped to 45.1% – the lowest level since March 2011.
The analysis found those aged 25 to 29 are the most uninsured group in Australia, with only 26% who have hospital cover. In comparison, 45% of children aged five to nine years old have hospital cover.
Meanwhile, those aged 70 to 74 have been found to have the most hospital cover.
“Unfortunately, underinsurance is becoming a growing problem as the rate of private hospital cover continues to fall,” Hassan said. “For those who are reluctant to get rid of their insurance altogether, comparing policies online can help provide a bird’s eye view of the market. Complacency can be toxic when it comes to your financial situation, so it’s important to always be on the lookout for a better deal.”