Don’t Pay For Unnecessary Health Insurance Inclusions

By picking a health insurance policy that only has inclusions that you need, you can save yourself a significant amount of money. Canstar finds out just how much you can save by taking this step.

We are seeing health insurance costs continue to rise, with the Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt earlier this year announcing a year-on-year premium percentage rate rise of 4.84%.

This equates to an average extra $185 per year for the average family (The Department of Health).

Average increase with rate protection (%) – Industry weighted average
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
5.78  5.56 5.06 5.60 6.20 6.18  5.59 4.84
Source: The Department of Health, 2017

Canstar’s data shows a single person in NSW paying for medium level hospital cover would pay around $1,452 per year in premiums on average. Assuming the average increase of 4.84% since then, and you’d be looking at paying approximately $1,522. This is a lot of money to be paying each year, but there is a way you can reduce this amount.

Large percentages of people’s premiums are spent paying for inclusions that are unnecessary for their life stage and health. While you can’t remove or add inclusions once you’ve taken out your policy, you can look for one that has the right combination of inclusions for you in order to save money.

Canstar will show you just how much you can save by doing this.

You can view the health insurance options available in the table below. Please note that this table has been sorted by star rating (highest to lowest) and was formulated based on a single male seeking hospital and extras health insurance based in NSW born in 1987:

The table below displays a snapshot of 5-Star hospital & extras policies on Canstar’s database with links to providers’ websites, sorted by provider name (alphabetically). Please note the results are based on a couple aged under 35 in NSW, with no pregnancy cover.

The most popular health insurance inclusions – what do you need?

For a reference point when deciding what inclusions to have in your health insurance policy, here are the 10 most sought-after features from visitors to the Canstar website:


How much you can save with exclusions

The following table shows how much you’d pay and how much you can save by picking a policy that excludes some of the most common inclusions. The ‘covered’ column shows what you’d end up paying on average if you are covered for that inclusion, while the ‘not covered’ column represents what you’d pay if you were to not have it.

Average Monthly Hospital Coverage Premium
Hospital service Covered Not covered Difference
Rehabilitation $136.02 $82.63 $53.39
Cardiac $136.42 $85.72 $50.70
Dialysis $144.50 $97.75 $46.75
Cataract $143.43 $97.79 $45.65
Gastric Banding $146.78 $104.01 $42.77
Hip/Knee Replacement $142.64 $102.73 $39.91
Pregnancy $142.36 $107.55 $34.80
IVF $143.40 $109.32 $34.08
Psychiatric $140.25 $108.93 $31.33
Source: Monthly premiums for a single person in NSW and include Base Tier government rebate.

According to the number of Canstar visitors that use our health insurance selector, cardiac (heart) is the most sought-after inclusion, accounting for 11% of all searches. While it is generally a good idea to be covered for heart problems should the worst happen, if you decide to pick a policy that does not offer this cover, then you can expect to shave an average of $50.70 off your monthly premiums.

Choosing a health insurance without IVF could save an average of $34 a month, while not having cover for gastric banding could save you around $31.

To further illustrate the costs that can be incurred by different inclusions, Canstar has researched the average monthly premiums of policies that have varying combinations of cover.

Private Hospital Coverage
Pregnancy Cardiac Hip/Knee Replacement Average Premium
Covered Covered Covered  $143.41
Not covered Covered Covered  $140.39
Not covered Covered Not covered  $108.99
Not covered Not covered Not covered  $82.09

The table above shows the expected cost of a policy that includes various combinations of three inclusions: pregnancy, cardiac and hip/knee replacement. A hospital cover policy including all three will cost an average of $143.41, whereas a policy that excluded all of them would cost a mere $82 on average.

The same logic applies with other inclusions.  Have a play around with Canstar’s comparison tool to see what kind of premiums you could be looking at after removing or adding certain inclusions.

Can you remove inclusions from your policy?

Technically, no, you can’t remove or add inclusions from your health insurance policy; they are set in stone. However, there are many different variations of inclusions in policies across the market, so with a bit of digging on your part, you can pick and choose a policy that either includes or excludes the services you want.

There’s no point in paying for things you don’t need; if you’re in good health, then you are unlikely to need gastric banding. Likewise, you may not need pregnancy cover if you aren’t planning on having children any time soon.

Even though certain health problems are unlikely to arise, it is good to be covered in the event that the worst happens. Therefore, you really need to think long and hard about whether it’s worth picking a policy that does have certain exclusions or restrictions.

Find Outstanding Value hospital cover

This article has explained how to cut the premiums on your health insurance policy, but price alone isn’t everything. You need a policy that has a strong and flexible combination of price and features. A good place to start searching for policies like this would be Canstar’s 2017 Outstanding Value Health Insurance award winners.

Alternatively, you can compare health insurance with Canstar. Like choosing a good doctor, we recommend doing your homework before deciding. Why not shop around and do some research on our site to search for policies to suit your needs and budget.

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