Consumers should understand the inclusions and exclusions on their policies.
Consumers should understand the inclusions and exclusions on their policies.

Aussies ditching health cover with premiums set to rise

ROB Attenborough thinks health is one of most undervalued investments, but doesn't think health insurance is worth investing in.

The Fraser Coast resident's stance echoes a growing trend of people either ditching their health insurance, or not bothering with it in the first place.

"I just don't think health insurance is the best value for money when it comes to your well-being," Mr Attenborough said.

"I don't plan on getting it."

Insurance premiums have jumped by 70 per cent since 2008 and on April 1 policies will climb on average by 3.95 per cent.

The soaring prices have struck a nerve with consumers with more than half considering going without cover.

This will sting families an additional $164 annually and experts have warned Australians they should break their "set and forget" mentality and review their cover.

New Galaxy research compiled for comparison website iSelect has revealed 57 per cent of Australians are reconsidering the worth of health insurance and about 36 per cent are struggling to justify the cost.

And in the past year one in two people voted with their feet on health insurance, either ditching or switching their cover. Medibank's chief customer officer David Koczkar urged consumers to "review their cover regularly."

"This year we are proactively contacting more than 250,000 customers to make sure they have the right cover," Mr Koczkar said.

"There's the option to prepay their health cover for up to 12 months at the existing rate before April 1 but what's more important is they are choosing the cover that is right for them."

Latest private health insurance statistics show in December 45.6 per cent of the population have hospital treatment cover.

This was a decrease of 0.2 per cent or fall of 12,300 policies for the December quarter.

iSelect spokeswoman Natalie Pennisi said customers must take action now to get a better deal.

"People have a choice and consumers need to take responsibility and understand what is available to them,'' she said.

"Health insurance can be difficult to navigate and understand."

The research revealed 36 per cent of people cannot justify the cost of health cover, but the main reasons for sticking with cover includes having peace of mind, maintaining extras cover for costs like dental and optical and reducing charges if a hospital admission is required.

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