How to save on health insurance without worrying about waiting periods


So you think you might be overpaying for private health insurance?

You’re not alone. But many people fail to find a cheaper deal on health insurance because they believe switching insurers comes with steep waiting periods.

That’s not necessarily the case. It is possible to save on health insurance and avoid any new waiting periods.


The rising cost of health insurance in Australia is a heavy burden on household budgets. That’s why it’s important to compare health insurance providers to ensure you’re not overpaying for your health insurance policy.

But many people are too scared to change providers because they believe their new insurer will hit them with long waiting periods. Fortunately, that’s not necessarily true.

In fact, if you switch to equivalent cover, your new insurer is legally required to honour any hospital waiting times you’ve already served under your old policy.

Many health insurance providers also waive or significantly reduce waiting times on extras as part of regular promotions.

The rising cost of health insurance in Australia is a heavy burden on household budgets. Photo: Getty

What is equivalent cover?

Equivalent cover means that your new health insurance policy provides the same level of coverage as your old policy.

For example, if you have already served the waiting period for silver hospital cover with your existing provider, your new insurer can’t impose a new waiting period on the equivalent silver hospital cover.

That said, waiting periods may apply on upgraded cover. For example, if your old policy didn’t cover pregnancy or cataract surgery, your new insurer can impose a waiting period if you want to be covered for these under your new policy.

What about pre-existing conditions?

Many health insurers do apply waiting periods of up to 12 months on medical treatments for pre-existing conditions when you first join or upgrade hospital cover, although cover for psychiatric, rehabilitative or palliative care can often be accessed after waiting just two months.

In most cases, extras don’t take pre-existing conditions into consideration – they’ll generally fall under your hospital cover.

It’s straightforward to make sure your new provider doesn’t reapply waiting periods for equivalent hospital cover – all you’ll need is a clearance certificate from your old fund to confirm you’ve already served these waiting periods.

When you switch with Health Insurance Comparison, our team will take care of this paperwork for you.

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