Tweed financial planner Wendy Scarlett says don't give up your health insurance, there's other ways to save on medical bills.
Tweed financial planner Wendy Scarlett says don't give up your health insurance, there's other ways to save on medical bills. John Gass

Give your health bill a check-up

I KNOW you're tempted, but don't ditch your private health insurance just yet.

Bulk bill doctors are getting rare and your chemist bill may be just as long as your grocery bill, but according to a Tweed financial planner there are plenty of ways to save money on health care without risking the big tax implications of axing your insurance.

AMP financial planner Wendy Scarlett knows private health insurance just got a whole lot more expensive with average premiums rising 5.06% from April 1.

This translates to about $70 extra for individuals with hospital cover and $150 extra for families making it super tempting to do away with insurance altogether.

But Ms Scarlett believes a safer approach is to review your extras cover and make sure you're not paying for things you don't need.

"While young singles are unlikely to need a hip replacement, empty nesters can remove their obstetrics cover," Ms Scarlett said.

"People can also reduce their monthly premiums by having a higher excess for hospital stays."

And of course there's nothing wrong with shopping around to find a better deal.

Savings can also be found in optical and dental health.

"With the average price of prescription glasses now more than $300, many people are tempted to put off buying a new pair," Ms Scarlett said.

"However with a wide variety of discount optical stores available offering inexpensive frames and lenses, it's worth shopping around.

"If a person is covered for dental under their private health insurance, they may be able to access low-gap treatment by choosing a dentist who is preferred by their heath fund provider.

"If people aren't able to pay for costly procedures upfront, many dentists will allow payment plans."

Other tips include using university dental schools which offer substantially reduced rates, taking the offer of the generic brand prescription at the chemist and using discount chemists or online pharmacies where savings can be as high as 50%.


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