Life's unpredictable – we get that – and with its big changes come different needs from your health insurance. Whether you're switching to ahm or moving to a different insurer, here's everything you need to know about changing health insurance companies.
Can I change my health insurance company any time?
You can change or switch your health insurance company any time, even mid-year. If you're happy with the insurer but have spotted a plan that suits you better, you can also switch to a new level of cover whenever you like.
How to compare new health insurance providers?
1. Check out a comparison website. They can show you what's on offer from different health insurance providers. They might only show you an overview of cover options – and might not include all insurers – so reaching out to insurance funds directly will always give you the clearest picture.
2. Try privatehealth.gov.au, it's a good source of independent comparison info.
3. Read the fine print. That means making sure you understand whether the quote you're getting includes the Australian Government Rebate and factors in Lifetime Health Cover loading.
4. Go direct. Rather than relying on information solely from a comparison website, head to the insurer directly to ensure you're getting the full scope of what they offer.
Or feel free to get in touch with someone from our contact center and get some expert advice.
What happens if I go with a new health insurance company?
Once you've settled on your new cover, make sure you're across the fine print that could affect your ability to claim. This includes:
- Waiting periods. If you're switching to a different level of cover or a cover with different services or benefits, you may have to serve waiting periods. However, at ahm, we’ll recognise waiting periods for comparable benefits with your old insurer.
- Annual limits. If you've received extras benefits from your old insurer, the annual limits you're entitled to during your first year of membership with the insurer you're switching to may be reduced. So that means you won’t be able to claim benefits for some extras services until your annual limits and sub-limits reset. Any sub-limits or lifetime limits may also be reduced by the amount you've received already at your old fund.
- Limits reset times. Health insurers can choose whether annual limits run and reset on a financial year (like ahm) or calendar year (like most others). This is important to check and consider before you change or switch.
How to switch health insurance providers?
When you sign up with a new insurer, they obtain your details from your previous insurer (if you consent) and make the transition for you. Or you can choose to take care of this yourself. Just let your previous insurer know you're requesting a transfer and your transfer certificates. They're required to provide these certificates within 14 days of your request. Mark it in your calendar in case you need to chase it up.
Your premiums for your current policy have to be up-to-date before you switch, so check your payments are sorted out. If you do not want a break in your cover, let your new insurer know the day your old policy is paid up to so they can make sure your new policy kicks in the following day.
Okay, I switched. When does my new cover start?
With ahm, your cover and waiting periods start from the date you nominate. You can begin to claim for services received from the date your cover started (if there aren’t any waiting periods to serve first).
If you've already served waiting periods at your previous fund and have switched over to ahm within 30 days, then the waiting periods you’ve already served for comparable benefits will carry over (and you won’t need to serve them again) once the transfer certificate comes through (this can take up to 14 days).
It’s also good to know that limits for comparable benefits carry over too. So, you can’t join and claim straight away if they have used their limits with their previous fund.
How do I switch to ahm?
Switching to ahm is simple. All you need to do is tell us your policy number, and the name of your current health insurance company when you join with us, and give us give us permission to collect your information on your behalf from your previous provider.
I want to stick with ahm, but need to change my policy.
We're glad to hear you're staying with us! Once you’ve found the right cover, changing is easy. Most members can change their cover online by logging in and going to Change Cover. If Change Cover isn't available for your policy (this may happen for a number of reasons, including if there's money owing on your account), just get in touch and we’ll help you out. We’d also be happy to answer any questions, or chat with you about your cover to discuss if it's a good fit for you.