You may have noticed an increase in your health insurance premium recently. Here we examine some of the possible reasons for this and look into ways of combating them.
According to the market-research group Datamonitor, medical inflation is the reason for yearly increases of 8% in health insurance premiums. The steady progress in the development of new drugs, therapies and equipment used to diagnose medical conditions and the resulting costs are an obvious reason for this. This is understandable and everyone wants the latest in diagnostics and treatments. Equipment becomes obsolete with time and invariably the very words newer and improved mean a rise in cost.
Another reason may be that insurance risks and therefore costs increase with age. Many insurance companies still use age bands, where costs increase at the end of a ten-year period. For example, someone aged between 40 and 49 would pay their normal agreed premium. Reach the dreaded 50 and the next bracket is between 50 and 59, and so on. The increase is greater with age and could be as much as 50% in the 60 to 69 category.
Many insurers have chosen to smooth out the increases on a yearly basis. BUPA, Pruhealth and Axa PPP are three of these. Axa PPP customers, for example, should expect a rise in the cost of premiums by about 2%, due to their age. Other insurers are said to be thinking of introducing this method.
The fast rising costs of medical insurance is worrying consumers and many are making the decision to terminate their policies when they’re coming up to their 60’s and this may be just when their need is greatest. Datamonitor has issued figures showing that there was a drop of 15.2% in the number of people with private medical insurance in the 7 years prior to 2004.
With this in mind, insurers have come up with some ways to cut the costs. You could opt for an excess on the policy, effectively working out a plan to suit your budget. For instance BUPA tell us that if you were willing to pay a £2000 excess, you would halve your premium. An excess of £100 could quite well reduce your bill by around 10%.
No-claims discounts are another possible way to reduce your premium and it’s possible to obtain up to a 50% saving. You should be able to transfer this if you decide to change providers.
There’s a big variation in the way in which companies treat no claims discounts. Axa PPP offers an immediate 27.5% no claims discount at the start of a policy, but make a claim and this is lost. Not all BUPA’s policies include the provision for no claims discounts, but some do and they guarantee that in the event of a claim, the resulting rise in premium will be a maximum of 10%.
Pruehealth encourage their policyholders to stay healthy in order to reduce their premiums. You can get between 25 and 100 per cent off next year’s premium, depending on the effort you put into it. Points are given for various activities and lifestyle changes.
With all these choices, it’s an excellent time to investigate the options. Don’t just keep paying out and certainly don’t lose that valuable cover by cancelling your health insurance, just get on line and find an insurance broker who will find the right cover for you at a price to suit your budget. Your pocket will benefit too, with the on-line discount.