How to make the most of your health insurance before it resets
Almost December already?! As christmas and the new year come charging in, many people find themselves in the December rush and struggle to find time to fit everything in. Whilst you might be eyeing up the christmas and boxing day sales, don't forget your health fund benefits will also expire on Dec 31st for most health funds.
Here's some tips on how to make the most of them:
1. KNOW WHEN YOUR HEALTH FUND "RESETS"
Most services and treatments have annual limits – a maximum amount you can claim each year. To make the most of your health fund benefits, know when your limit expires each year.
Most Health Funds have annual limits, which reset on 1 January each year, but some fund are financial year, which reset 1st July each year. If you don't use your benefits before then, you lose them! See the list below to see whether your health fund is calendar or financial year.
Calendar year health funds (Dec 31st) :
- CBHS / CBHS CORPORATE
- DOCTORS' HEALTH FUND
- MEDIBANK PRIVATE
- POLICE HEALTH
- TEACHERS HEALTH
- TRANSPORT HEALTH
Financial year health funds (July 1st) :
- NAVY HEALTH
- PEOPLECARE HEALTH INSURANCE
See the comprehensive list of health funds and when they expire here: https://www.finder.com.au/health-insurance-annual-benefit-limits
2. ORGANISE YOUR APPOINTMENTS EARLY AND BEAT LAST MINUTE RUSH
As most health funds reset at the end of the year, December can be incredibly busy for many health service providers and people! If you leave it until December, it can be difficult to get an appointment to see your optometrist, as well as delays on orders too.
Why not make it a habit to see your optometrist or dentist every year in say, March or June? Most practices recommend a 12 month check up, so you'll get a reminder when it's time and when December comes around, you'll know you've used your benefits and don't have to rush!
At Optometrist Parramatta, we send out a friendly message in October and November each year, reminding our clients that the end of the year is approaching and to use their health fund so they don't lost it.
3. KNOW YOUR LIMIT FOR EACH SERVICE AND HOW TO USE IT
Most health funds will give you a maximum on certain services or split up your benefits across services. When you have your yearly eye check up, we recommend focusing on updating one thing each year. For example, one year you might use your health fund to get a new pair of glasses and update lenses in an old pair as a back-up. The next year, you could get a new pair of prescription sunglasses. This helps spread costs out whilst ensuring you always have updated lenses in your prescriptions - and most importantly, a back up pair!
For optical benefits, most funds choose to split up your limit across items-
E.g. You have an annual limit of $300 on optical, but might get back more on multifocal lenses than single vision or a new frame. It might make more sense to get a cheaper frame and higher quality lenses.
Other funds only pay a portion of each purchase, up to a limit-
E.g. Your annual optical limit is $300, but the health fund will pay a maximum of 60% per purchase. You would have to purchase something more expensive or make more than one purchase in the year in order to use your full benefit.
Alternatively, your health fund might pay you a flat rate each year-
E.g. Your annual optical limit is $300. No matter what you decide to purchase or how much it costs, your fund will cover you up to $300. This is generally considered "better", as you aren't limited to what you can purchase or how much it costs, you will always get the same amount back regardless.
4. PURCHASE CONTACT LENSES ONLINE & CLAIM YOUR HEALTH FUND
Too busy to have an eye test? Easy! If you wear contact lenses you can use your health fund without leaving the house! Just head to our website and buy contact lenses online.
Perks: Free Express delivery Australia-wide over $99 and super fast processing means you'll have your lenses in no time at all. We also have some of the cheapest prices on ProVision contact lenses and offer Super-Saver 12 month packs of Bausch and Lomb contact lenses and Alcon contact lenses., which are some of the cheapest in Australia.
5. TIPS AND TRICKS TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR HEALTH FUND BENEFITS
- Organise your appointments early and beat the December rush
- Do you wear contact lenses? If you don't have time for an appointment, just order online here!
- If you wear contact lenses and don't have time to come in, purchase online and submit the receipt to your health fund to claim
- If you want new glasses or contact lenses and are travelling soon, give yourself plenty of time as orders can be delayed coming up to Christmas
- Focus on one thing per year. One year get new prescription glasses, the other prescription sunglasses or a dedicate work pair/sports pair/backup pair.
- If your health fund gives you back a flat rate and you were considering an expensive purchase, split it up over two years. For example, you might use your full limit to get an expensive frame in December, then in January use your limit on some top of the range multifocal lenses.
Have you used your optical benefits this year? If you have a recent prescription you don't need to make an appointment, just come in to choose some new glasses!
Do you wear contact lenses? Buy contact lenses online and claim them back with your health fund