Chop health costs, keep the herbs

Private health insurance rose by more than inflation this year, here's how to reduce your premium without giving up too much.

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Eight years later, just prior to linking cover with my soon-to-be husband, I was paying $42.10 per week as an individual for the same premium level health cover minus the life insurance, but still the Chinese medicine.

It was time to act and reduce my premium and here’s how I saved $410.

I hadn’t previously changed my cover or provider because, who knows, maybe I will need the Alexander technique to curtail the posture slump created by sleepless nights with an infant in the house. (I’m sure it will work, too…)

Over those years, I paid literally thousands and didn’t make a claim until I started wearing glasses at 26 years of age. Furthermore, I didn’t reach the tax bracket where I needed health insurance as a tax write-off until I was 24 years. And then there was the fear of a 1% levy if I get rid of health insurance before I turn 31. (who can forget that scare-campaign)

A further five years on, we have two children and have been paying $54 per week for mid-range hospital and extras.

Realising that we have paid out nearly $3,000 for each of the last five years and have only used the optical benefits of our cover twice and none the osteoporosis or holistic treatments, I called our provider to see how we can reduce our plan.

Now. If you’ve ever made a call to your provider and asked them to reduce your bill you’ve probably encountered the same gritted-teeth customer service I experienced yesterday.

Side note: I’ve never made this type of call before and waiting until you’re jack of receiving April 1st letters that say “you’re coverage costs are going up again” probably doesn’t make you the most friendly person to speak to.

Still, after a few elegant threats to leave and telling the customer service representative with brash honesty that we don’t know what the F we are paying for, I managed to reduce our weekly payment by $7.90 without reducing the level of cover we have – “…and that still includes all your Chinese Herbs”, so the customer service representative reminded me.

The $7.90 per week might not sound like a lot, but that adds up to a saving of $410.80 over the entire year, which coincidently almost negates the $500 excess we’d have to pay if we did go into hospital, thereby keeping a total $910.80 in the bank for staying healthy the entire year.

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