Time’s running out to get maximum value from your health cover extras

There’s an easy way to get more value out of your health insurance – give your extras a quick once over and see where you can save.

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

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

A family with an extras policy could be sitting on an unused pot of money that they haven’t utilised. That’s 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 each has $4430 worth of included extras on their policy. For a family of four that’s $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.

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

Unused extras are the easiest way to throw away money on health insurance, so it pays to be proactive.

It sounds obvious, but before the end of the year, see where you can stretch the value of your extras. For example:

  • get the kids to have a quick dental check-up before the summer holidays
  • get a pair of prescription sunglasses
  • take advantage of a remedial massage
  • squeeze in an extra chiro, osteo or physio appointment.

Check with your insurer as to how much you have left. If it’s a lot, shop around to see if you could get better value cover.

Some health insurers allow you to claim in the following year for treatments that you had this year, so keep your receipts.

There are a group of extras that don’t tend to reset – 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, Compare Club discovered that 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 you 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.

Be aware that hospital and extras cover can be provided by two different health insurers. That may suit your budget better.

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 a month 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 1 January.

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.

This article originally appeared on Expert Analysis and is republished with permission.

Disclaimer: YourLifeChoices is owned by Compare Club.

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