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How you can switch health cover at any time of year if you are not happy with your policy.

5 May 2016, Emma Blake, News Corp Australia Network

MAY is here but while a month has flown by since health funds hiked their premiums on April 1 there is no deadline for switching health insurance policies.

If you’ve just paid the first month’s health insurance bill and it’s dawned on you that your costs have gone up way too much — or you’re not using all the services you pay for — it’s never too late to shop around.

“A lot of people think they’ve missed the boat if they didn’t get around to reviewing their policy before April 1 but that’s definitely not the case,” says Laura Crowden, spokeswoman for comparison service iSelect.

“Although you might have to pay a month or two of your increased premium, there’s still plenty of time to switch to a policy that will provide better coverage for the rest of the year.”

And you’ll still pay a lower price for 10 or 11 months of the year.

A recent poll showed 49 per cent of people were fearful about increases to health insurance with 58 per cent of older people particularly concerned, a recent Galaxy survey commissioned by Fox Symes found.

One way to save is for older couples who share a policy to consider whether it is worthwhile.

“I had always assumed it would be cheaper for a couple to have a couples policy rather than having two singles but there’s absolutely no discount for having a couples policy,” Crowden says.

“One may need glasses and a lot of physio but the other could be a lot healthier so it may make sense to have two separate policies to avoid paying a lot more on a couples policy which covers both parties for the same things,” Crowden says.

Splitting the difference can work well for young couples who may plan to have kids down the track. The woman may want to have obstetrics cover but the man clearly has no use for this extra.

Once they have a baby, however, they would need to switch to a family policy so the baby is covered as well, Crowden says.

If you are thinking about switching cover One Big Switch has extended its Big Health Insurance Switch campaign to June 10.

The campaign has attracted almost 110,000 people as health insurance premiums have climbed by 25 per cent in the past four years and the latest average rise of 5.59 per cent has hit households hard.

Insurer provider HCF — the nation’s third-largest fund — has helped make thousands of insurance customers better off by signing up to the deal.

The offer includes a $400 cashback deal for couples or families or $200 for singles if you switch your hospital and extras cover to HCF.

To join the campaign visit onebigswitch.com.au.

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