Health insurance extras reset on 1 Jan: here’s one way to get more value from them

Here’s an easy way to get a little bit more value out of your health insurance over the summer: give your extras a quick once over and see where you could save.

Most health insurance companies reset their health insurance extras on 1 January 1 with a handful like ahm resetting at the end of financial year.

All extras such as dental, optical, physio and podiatry come with annual limits. If you’re nowhere near hitting these, you could be on the wrong policy. 

An Australian family on an extras policy could be sitting on an unused pot of money that they haven’t used. This is like giving your health fund your money for free.

Here’s one example: a family of four on the HCF Hospital Bronze Plus and Vital Extras has $4430 worth of included extras on their policy. For a family of four that  is $17,720. 

So let’s say this year they deducted:

  • Two pairs of glasses ($500)
  • Some general dental ($400)
  • Four physio appointments ($240)

That leaves them with $16,580 of unused extras.

Five tips you need to know:

If you don’t use up your extras, you’ll probably lose your benefits that don’t automatically roll into next year.

  1. Unused extras are the easiest way to throw away money on health insurance, so it pays to be proactive. 
  2. It sounds obvious, but before the end of the year see where you can stretch the value of your extras. For example: a) Get the kids to have a quick dental checkup before the summer holidays b) Get a pair of prescription sunnies c) Take advantage of a remedial massage d) Squeeze in an extra chiro, osteo or physio appointment before the year’s out.
  3. Check with your insurer as to how much you’ve got left. If it’s a lot, shop around using services like Compare Club to see if you could get better value.
  4. Some health insurers allow you to claim in the following year for treatments that you had this year, so keep your receipts.
  5. There are a group of extras which don’t tend to reset either – hearing aids and braces for example.

An extra tip: If you get a set amount back on extras, be aware they won’t go up with inflation. Earlier this year, we found out many health holders with older policies were getting a poor deal on dental rebates.

Do an audit of how many healthcare expenses you’ve had this year, and how much of your extras you’ve used.

As life changes, so does the type of cover we need. If you have extras you don’t need any more, it’s a good sign it’s time to change your policy.

Be mindful that there are waiting periods for certain benefits – especially major dental – so make sure you’re covered for what you need if you switch.

Did you know that hospital and extras cover can be provided by two different health insurers? It may suit your budget to consider having both.

And if you find that you don’t need the extras you already have, it makes sense to switch now – and start 2024 with a fresh policy with full limits and higher rebates on the extras you actually use.

The bottom line:

You still have five weeks to use your extras, but get a move on so you don’t miss out.

If you’ve used all your benefits, then the good news is they’ll reset on January 1 for you to use again.

And, if you have extras that you’re never going to use, it’s a really good time to shop around for a cover that better suits your current needs.

The information contained on this web page is of general nature only and has been prepared without taking into consideration your objectives, needs and financial situation. You should check with a financial professional before making any decisions.

YourLifeChoices is owned by CompareClub.

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