Churning Private Health Insurance (for Freebies)

I switch policies sometimes once or twice a year when they offer freebies, i.e. 6 weeks free and I weigh up the cost of going to a more expensive insurer into this.
I usually go to a better insurance company when I need to go to the dentist to get a free check-up and more back if I need x-rays or fillings.

Does anyone else do this and have any strategy or experience?

Comments

  • Does anyone else do this

    No.

  • No. Stopped my PHI.

  • -1

    CBF

  • I've thought about it, but I'm also interested in what it actually covers if I needed an admission. I've got cover that covers a lot, compared to some. I wouldn't want to need something more complex and be caught out because I was churning. The main point of health insurance for me is if something unexpected comes up that I'd have to wait for in the public system, or if I want to choose my surgeon/specialist.

    • -1

      It's a standardised product. How will you be caught out? (Maybe there might be an extras category that is covered by one fund but not another - but that isn't going to happen under hospital cover of the same Gold, Silver, Bronze categories.)

      • ahh.. yes you're right, I'd forgotten about this coming in. I guess I could churn and stay at the same level, might not be a terrible idea.

        • It's the best idea!

          If you're lucky enough to be able to churn to repeated "1 month then 6 weeks free offers", you will reduce your costs by 60%.

          I'm kicking myself for not starting this before 2020.

          I have churned on the last day of each promo period.

          Love it!

  • +3

    Yes, I do this. In the last financial year I had 6 health funds and reduced my annual costs by 58%.

    The industry is in a death spiral and I'm not going to contribute my hard earned $ to keep it propped up.

    • amazing

    • Wow, I knew Sim Slutting was a thing but never thought to do it with PHI! :)

  • +2

    An important aspect of the churn strategy is, after 1 July each year, to churn to a fund that resets its extras benefits on 1 July.

    This means you can again claim for extras categories you may have exhausted with the previous fund, eg, optical.

    I buy two new pairs of glasses per year using this method.

    • +1

      Of course that means that after 1 January you should then churn to a fund with 1 January extras benefit resets.

      It truly is a beautiful merry-go-round.

      • And of course, churn after 1 April pricing review to avoid paying loyalty tax

        • Sure, but with the churn strategy you would be churning to the next best offer anyway.

  • Do waiting periods not restart each time you change funds?

    • Not if you are transferring from another provider

    • +1

      Normally serve waiting period for extra coverage.

      E.g. old plan routine dental has $500 limit. New plan has $800 limit. You serve the waiting period for that extra $300 limit.

  • I would if i could however i find the costs are so variable so don't really bother.
    And FWIW i only have it to minimise tax.
    If i could have a choice i definitely wouldn't have it.

    • The costs might be variable but the savings are significant (up to 60%).

      • Mine is the lowest i know of ($690) so no really too fussed as its pretty much impossible to get cheaper

  • Is it worthwhile if you just want basic hospital cover to avoid tax?

    • That's a decision you have to make.

      • My main objective is to be covered for tax purposes at the least possible cost.

        • Breaking that down:

          • To be covered for tax purposes, and
          • To be covered at the least possible cost.

          These two are not incompatible.

          By undertaking in the churn you can do better at the second element of your goal - "least possible cost".

          Are the "up to 60% savings" worth it for you based on your annual costs? Only you can decide the value of this.

  • I take out basic cover cause it's cheaper than paying extra tax. I don't even live in Australia (though I am a resident for tax purposes), so I alternate between Qantas and BUPA just to get the additional QF or VA sign-on points. Been doing this for years.

  • I also do the same with other types of insurance. Set and forget is anathema to me as it should for all OzBers.