Did you know that?  Private health insurance in Australia is subsided by the federal government, and your rebate is calculated based on your income, age and whether you have kids.

Your premiums are also tax deductible, and can give you another saving by helping you avoid paying the Government’s Medicare Levy Surcharge at tax time.

Whether or not you decide private health insurance is for you – some people see it as a must, while others are quite happy to rely on Australia’s public health system – is a personal decision.

But if you have private health insurance, make sure you get the most out of your premium.  Here are ten tips of squeezing every last cent from your health insurer!

  1. Once a year review your cover. Do you need everything you are paying for?  If not, see if you can lose it from your cover.
  2. Talk to your doctor about any your health, and any medical conditions you might have, plus what cover they would recommend you obtain.  Your doctor could also offer good advice on what cover you do not need.
  3. Would removing any extras like optical, obstetric care or major dental reduce your costs?  If so, consider what stage of life you are at and what of these you need.
  4. Pay up front once a year for a discount.  If you cannot manage this, many health insurers also offer smaller discounts for direct debit (not credit card) customers.  Ask.
  5. What is your excess? If you are a very healthy person of family, it might be worth the risk of a high hospital excess.  This will reduce your annual premium. For those occasionally using hospital services or with young ones, consider a mid range or lower excess.
  6. Look at the list if extras. How much of this did you actually use last year? If it was less than what you paid for, why not just buy a hospital only health policy.
  7. Always compare insurance providers, even when renewing.  If you find a better price elsewhere, go back to your current provider and ask them to not just match it, but beat it.
  8. There are at least ten providers of health insurance in Australia.  Don’t just stick with the major one or two that you see advertise when getting quotes.
  9. Always read the fine print and ask questions when you don’t understand.
  10. Check out the non-medical features.  A lot of funds now offer frills such as cheap movie tickets, gym memberships and health prevention clinics. These are great if you will actually use them, but don’t let them be a deciding factor for you.