Everything you need to know about your 2021 health cover premium
Premiums are set to change on 1 April 2021, as they usually do. We’ll help you understand the changes to your premium, as well as how to make the most of your health cover.
Support for our members
We’re focused on helping you stay safe and healthy, and we offer support for times of financial difficulty as a result of Coronavirus or otherwise.
Why are premiums changing?
Every year, health insurers review their premiums to ensure they are priced accordingly against the rise in healthcare costs.
In February 2021, Latrobe Health will commence communication with members about changes to their 2021 health insurance premium.
Does Latrobe Health profit from premium increases?
No. Latrobe Health is a not-for-profit health fund. This means that the company has no shareholders to report to or distribute profit to. Any net operating margin earned as a result of this rate increase will be directly added to the fund’s reserves to ensure the future payment of claims, benefits for members and covering our operational costs and overheads (which we keep extremely low each year – around 10c in every dollar).
How will the premium increase affect me if I’ve paid my contributions in advance?
If you’ve paid your premium prior to 1 April 2021, you'll enjoy rate protection for that time. That means that you will pay your premiums at the current rate for the duration of that advance payment, which can be 12 months' worth of premiums, six months, three months, one month or one fortnight. If you do choose to make an upfront payment of 12 months, you'll also receive an additional bonus discount of 4% (or 2% for six-monthly payments). To pre-pay your premiums, log into the online member area on our website, or call us on 1300 362 144 to find out more on how to take up this offer.
Can I lock in my current health insurance premium?
Yes, this is called rate protection, you can lock in your current premiums, paying up to 12 months in advance, provided we receive your payment before the pre-payment deadline (31 March 2021). With rate protection, if premium rates are increased within the period for which you have already paid for your insurance, you will not have to pay increased rates until that period ends.
Keep in mind we’re no longer accepting cheques. But you can save time and hassle by automating your premium payments at a frequency that suits you. This could be weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or even yearly. You can do this by:
- logging in to online member services
- using the Latrobe Health mobile app
- calling us on 1300 362 144 (Mon–Fri: 8.30am–6pm, AEST/AEDT)
- visiting a Latrobe Health branch, located in Moe, Traralgon and Bairnsdale.
Why should I keep private hospital cover? I can go to a public hospital for free.
The value of private health insurance is clear when you use it (and not all health episodes are planned):
- access to the best private hospitals with state-of-the art facilities when you need care
- choice of your doctor, and ensuring you have trust in the quality of care and outcomes you’ll get
- not having to spend months (even years) on a public hospital waiting list
- saving yourself tax (if you’re a high-income earner) by not having to pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge
- avoiding a Lifetime Health Cover loading (by having hospital cover before you turn 31).
Medicare does not provide coverage for the services you need day to day such as dental, physio, chiro and alike. If you’ve got private health insurance cover for extras, this can help out with the cost of accessing some of these services.
When you think about health insurance it’s important to think about more than just the cost – it’s about giving you more choice for your healthcare, less time waiting for the services you need and (most importantly) the peace of mind to know that you’ll be looked after when you need it most.
Can I remove cover for something I know I won't use?
We understand that there are services (such as maternity) that some of our members won’t need but still have the peace of mind that they are covered for unexpected or specific health needs. That’s why we provide a range of covers to suit all budgets and life circumstances – from our comprehensive Gold hospital cover through to Bronze, covering the most common hospital treatments.
If you would like to review your cover to ensure you are on the best product suited to your needs, please call us on 1300 362 144 (Mon–Fri: 8.30am–6pm, AEST/AEDT) to complete a cover review.
My premium increased more than the national average percentage. Why did this happen?
The Australian Government calculates the national average based on the premium increases it approves for all Australian health funds.
Because your premium increase relates to your chosen level of Latrobe Health cover, it may be different to the national average (or the Latrobe Health average). Your premium increase reflects the balance between managing member payments against the claims we pay out for all members on your level of cover in your state.
Why is the increase to my membership payments higher than your average increase?
When it comes to reviewing our rates, we look at every level of cover individually and work out how much we need to increase the cost by to keep people covered, including the cost of claims.
We’ll keep doing everything we can to keep our costs as low as possible while still giving you great quality cover.
How do you decide how much you increase membership payments by?
We only ever increase membership payments by what it costs to pay claims and keep our fund running, and any increases we make have to be closely looked at and approved by the Government.
Any net operating margin earned as a result of this rate increase will be directly added to the fund’s reserves to ensure the future payment of claims, benefits for members and covering our operational costs and overheads (which we keep extremely low each year – around 10c in every dollar).
How is my premium calculated?
To calculate a premium, we use claims and service cost data from previous years to estimate the amount we’ll need to spend in the coming year. Premiums are then adjusted for each type of cover so we can safely cover those predicted costs.
Premium increases aren’t calculated at an individual member level. Your premium change just depends on the kind of cover you have. Community rating applies to private health insurance, it means everyone with the same cover will have the same premium change.
Your final premium amount each year will be a combination of the cover's premium change, any discounts that you have (like a direct debit or corporate discount), your Lifetime Health Cover loading, and, if applicable (and in addition) your Australian Government Rebate on Private Health Insurance.
Calculation of premium increases is subject to external scrutiny. To obtain a premium increase an application must be submitted to the Australian Government Minister for Health. The Department of Health and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), the independent health insurance financial regulator, assess all applications to increase premiums before these are passed to the Minister of Health to consider. A health fund needs to provide sufficient information to demonstrate to the Minister of Health that the increase is necessary. If an increase is regarded as contrary to the public interest it will not be approved.
How do I find more information on changes to my product (if any)?
This year we have once again implemented some positive changes to some of our products to ensure we’re continually delivering our members value for money. To find more information about any changes to your policy, there are a few places you can head to better understand how these changes affect you:
- refer to the policy document we sent you with your letter or email
- log into the online member service area on our website and find your policy document and view limits and waiting periods applicable to you
- email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
- call us on 1300 362 144.
What is Latrobe Health doing to reduce health care costs?
Why has Latrobe Health sent me a Private Health Information Statement with my premium review?
Your premium letter or email will include your Private Health Information Statement (PHIS) as it is a Federal Government requirement that every year we send you a copy. The PHIS outlines your cover with a list of what is and isn’t covered as well as your waiting periods and limits for the year.
You may notice that the premiums shown on the PHIS are different to the premiums you actually pay. This is because the statements must show standard premium amounts without any Government rebate, Lifetime Health Cover loading, age-based discounts or any other discounts, all of which affect the price of your policy.
For those who have an Ambulance Victoria membership as part of your cover, the PHIS also excludes this amount – if this applies to you, the product code at the top of this letter will include an “A”. More information about ambulance subscriptions.
For more information on the age-based discount, Lifetime Health Cover loading and/or the Australian Government Private Health Insurance Rebate, head to privatehealth.gov.au.
Why does the government give back less in the Australian Government Rebate on private health insurance each year?
The Australian Government Rebate on private health insurance was introduced in 1999 to help make health insurance more affordable.
Each year on 1 April, the government compares the national average of health fund premium increases to the standard cost of living in Australia, known as Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Unfortunately, because the rebate is a government initiative, we don’t have control over how much it’s reduced by. For more information on changes to the rebate visit privatehealth.gov.au or the Australian Tax Office website.
What support did Latrobe Health provide to its members throughout the COVID-19 pandemic?
As a not-for-profit health insurer, we’re here for our members. We recognised that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to stand by our members and support their health.
In addition to delaying premium increases for six months last year, we put in place measures to support members facing financial stress and to ensure we continue to deliver great value for money. These include:
- Hardship suspensions - members doing it particularly tough can apply to suspend premium payments or downgrade their cover temporarily. We’ve already supported 600 of our members in this way (download the Hardship Application Form)
- Telehealth benefits - coverage for extras services delivered via telephone or video-conferencing
- Cover for Coronavirus-related hospital admissions, no matter what level of hospital cover you are on.
Read more about our COVID-19 member support package and hardship provisions.
Acknowledging the increased pressures placed on families and the communities, we also donated $1M to family violence and youth mental health support agencies.
Our donation comprised $300,000 to family service organisation Berry Street and $350,000 each to Quantum Support Services and Anglicare Victoria. You can read more about these donations here.
I have more questions – who can I speak to?
If you have a question about your premium change, we're here to help. Our friendly team of health cover experts are always happy to discuss your health insurance needs, so give us a call on 1300 362 144, Mon-Fri: 8.30am–6pm AEST/AEDT.
You can also find more information about how private health insurance works at privatehealth.gov.au or take a look at our member guide, which was attached in your letter notifying you of your new premium.