Despite growing cost-of-living pressures, the uptake of private health insurance is on rise.
Benefits of health insurance include the ability to choose your own specialist, shorter waiting times, and greater certainty around treatment cost.
If cost is a concern, there are products available to meet your individual needs and budget. Funds like Australian Unity are also working hard to keep premium increases as low as possible.
Now is an excellent time to join Australian Unity hospital and extras by 30 November 2023 as you can take advantage of:
6 weeks free hospital and extras cover.2
2 month and optical waiting periods waived on Extras.3
Plus, as NSA is part of the Australian Unity partner network you’re eligible for an ongoing 10% discount.1
Australian Unity’s General Manager of Healthcare Management and Product Emma Pawlowski’s belief in the importance of health insurance stems from her own experiences navigating many health issues over the years.
“I have had my own experiences, from sporting injury surgeries, to a two-decade journey with endometriosis,” she says.
Learning to manage her condition reinforced the value of having a sufficient level of health insurance, enabling access to the required care, faster, and by the specialist or surgeon of her choice. Additionally, the benefits of Extras has meant access to adequate rehab, as well as additional support to prevent future medical events and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.
Emma’s reflections feel timely in the current economic climate, where the cost of living continues to spiral in the wake of successive interest rate rises, mounting inflation, and the aftershocks of COVID-19. Such conditions have piled financial pressure on Australian households, with many of us urgently seeking ways to cut costs.
In this context, you’d expect to see many of us deciding to reduce our health insurance expenses. Intriguingly, however, the opposite is happening.
A recent update from Private Healthcare Australia found that more than 865,000 people have signed up for private health cover since mid-2020 – and this is growing. Some of the main reasons for this increase is a desire for shorter waiting times, greater certainty on the cost of treatment, the quality of private care, and being able to choose the specific place of treatment or specialist.
“I think what’s driving the increase in private health insurance is probably the challenges hitting the front-page news around the public hospital system, and the timeliness and surety of treatment when people need it,” says Rebecca Windsor, CEO of Health Insurance for Australian Unity. “That’s the big driver of the uptake in private health insurance, despite the cost-of-living challenges people are facing.”
With lingering concern about the impact of COVID-19 on public hospital care and escalating competition to access mental health and dental treatment, we’re increasingly willing to pay for the convenience to control our health.
It’s a finding reinforced by Australian Unity Wellbeing Index research, which has seen an unprecedented drop in our satisfaction with our physical and mental health over the past two years. With our health playing a critical role in our overall wellbeing, it's little wonder that people are actively looking for solutions to the situation.
With the cost of living starting to bite, we're also looking for ways to get better value from our expenses.
“A lot of government incentives such as Lifetime Health Cover loading and the Medicare Levy Surcharge are put in place to drive behaviour that will keep the system sustainable,” says Rebecca.
Many health funds are also working hard to support their customers by keeping a lid on rising premiums. Over the past two years, increases in average premium costs of private health insurance have remained well below the rate of inflation.
“At Australian Unity, we've deferred our premium increases on two occasions for our members to help them with the cost of living, and we've also supported people through times of hardship,” Rebecca says.
If the pandemic years have shown us anything, it’s that our health matters. More and more of us are finding ways to prioritise our health, even as the purse strings tighten.
“People need to really think about their situation and reflect on what’s most important to them,” says Emma. “Think about the times that you need to look after yourself and the benefits of being able to have that choice. Caring about your health is about putting yourself in the best position.”
1 10% discount includes all retail discounts and is available only when paying by direct debit. The discount is not available through brokers or comparators, and excludes Overseas Visitor Cover.
2 Offer valid only for new members on new memberships, commencing between 28 August & 30 November 2023. Six (6) weeks free applied after you’ve served your first 60 continuous days of paid membership. Read terms and conditions at australianunity.com.au/tcs.
3 All other 6 and 12 month extras waiting periods still apply. All applicable hospital waiting periods still apply. Transferring members will have amounts claimed in 2023 on their previous cover taken into account in calculating their yearly limit for equivalent services. Offer valid only for new members on new memberships (hospital & extras), which commence by 30 November 2023. T&C’s apply at australianunity.com.au/tcs
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