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How Age Matters in Medical Insurance Comparison

Sally Aquire January 3rd, 2012 0 comments
Age and health insurance

Various factors can affect your health insurance costs, but age is a prominent one. Here are some of the ways that your age can have an impact on your health insurance premiums and medical expenses.

Older means greater health risk

Generally speaking, you can expect your health to get worse as you get older, so you’re more likely to get ill and make claims on your health insurance. Because of this, you may have more co-payments and excesses to pay, which would certainly affect your budget.

Image by Adrian Boliston

Your health is changing

Because most people find that their health deteriorates as they age, you may want to change your health insurance policy to reflect this. Optional extras such as cardiac cover and joint replacement cover may have seemed unnecessary when you were younger, but they may become important as your health alters with age. These types of optional extras will increase your premiums.

You’ll pay more for private hospital cover

Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) is intended as an incentive to arrange private hospital cover earlier in your life and keep it in place. By taking advantage of this, you can “lock in” more affordable premiums for life compared to those who only decide to arrange private hospital cover as they get older.

If you haven’t already arranged private hospital cover before the July 1st following your 31st birthday, your age can make a big difference to the cost of your premiums. For every year that you delay beyond the age of thirty, your premiums will have a 2% loading fee on top (up to a maximum of 70%), which means that you’re effectively paying higher premiums.

For example, if you decide to take out private hospital cover when you’re forty, you’ll have a 20% loading fee on top of your premiums (because you delayed for ten years beyond turning thirty). Loading is removed if you keep your cover in place for ten consecutive years but you may have to pay loading fees if you drop your cover and rejoin further down the line.

Your family is changing

If you’re a couple with children, it makes sense to arrange family cover while they are your dependants, but as both you and your family get older, there will probably come a point at which it’s more sensible to move to couples cover (once your children are no longer your dependants and you’re not including them on your private health insurance) or singles cover (if your circumstances change and you only need to protect yourself).

It won’t always work out cheaper to change from family to couples cover, but it’s worth looking into, as there is the potential to pay less expensive premiums on making the switch.

As you get older, the biggest age-related factor revolves around the implications of Lifetime Health Cover if you wait until later in life to arrange private hospital cover. This will significantly increase your premiums, so it definitely pays to think seriously about your health while you’re still young and healthy.

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