How to save on health insurance without waiting periods

Many people fail to find cheaper health cover because they wrongly think switching funds comes with steep waiting periods.

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by Gary Andrews

Last update 01 Jan 2021

The rising cost of health insurance in Australia is a heavy burden on household budgets. That's why it's important to compare health insurance providers to ensure you're not overpaying for your health insurance policy.

But many people are too scared to change providers because they believe their new insurer will hit them with long waiting periods. Fortunately, that's not necessarily true.

If you switch to equivalent cover, your new insurer is legally required to honour any hospital waiting times you've already served under your old policy.

Many health insurance providers also waive or significantly reduce waiting times on extras as part of regular promotions.


What is equivalent cover?

Equivalent cover means that your new health insurance policy provides the same level of coverage as your old policy.

For example, if you have already served the waiting period for silver hospital cover with your existing provider, your new insurer can't impose a new waiting period on the equivalent silver hospital cover.

That said, waiting periods may apply on upgraded cover.

For example, if your old policy didn't cover pregnancy or cataract surgery, your new insurer can impose a waiting period if you want to be covered for these.

What about pre-existing conditions?

Many health insurers do apply waiting periods of up to 12 months on medical treatments for pre-existing conditions, although cover for psychiatric, rehabilitative or palliative care can often be accessed after waiting just two months.

In most cases, extras don't take pre-existing conditions into consideration - they'll generally fall under your hospital cover.

It's straightforward to make sure your new provider doesn't reapply waiting periods - all you'll need is a clearance certificate from your old fund to confirm you've already served these waiting periods.

When you switch with Compare Club, our team will take care of this paperwork for you.

What if my equivalent cover is cheaper?

That's the whole point! Even if your new health insurance policy is cheaper, your new provider can't impose new waiting periods on equivalent cover if you've already served that waiting period.

So if you want to get the best deal on health insurance, it pays to regularly compare providers.

Our team at Compare Club can help, especially if you're not changing your level of cover. They'll compare insurers to look for an equivalent policy at a lower cost.

Last year we saved our customers, on average, $312^ on their policy. So compare today and see how much you can save.


*This article is opinion only and should not be taken as medical or financial advice. Check with a financial professional before making any decisions.

^Average saving based on 25,311 customers in 2020.