Single parents are being charged more than two-parent families by health insurers when they add children to their policies.
According to new research by consumer advocacy group CHOICE, couples who switch to a family policy on average have to pay 1 per cent extra on their premiums — and in some cases the price doesn’t change at all.
However, single parents who want to cover their children will pay an average of 66 per cent more.
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This significant price increase could explain why so few single parents decide not to take out family health insurance, with CHOICE estimating only about 20 per cent of single parents have private health insurance.
“Unfortunately, health insurance is another area where single parents face price discrimination,” CHOICE health insurance expert Mark Blades said.
“It’s unfair that couples aren’t heavily impacted by a price increase when they add a dependent, but single parents will pay significantly more. Some funds even charge single parents the exact same premium as two-parent families.
“If health insurers are happy to insure a child for free for a couple, they should be willing to do the same for a single parent.”
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CHOICE identified the worst health funds for single parents, which have policies that charge single-parent families the same price as two-parent families.
These insurers include St Luke’s Health, Reserve Bank and Hunter Health, with the latter actually offering no policies specifically for single parents. This means single parents are forced to pay for a family policy.
NIB-brand funds such as NIB, AAMI, ING, Priceline, Suncorp, Real and Seniors also made the list.
CHOICE found the best policies for single parents still charge them more than two-parent families, but penalise single parents less than other funds.
These policies include:
Medibank Bronze Plus Assured with excess at $500 or $750Navy Health Gold, Silver Plus and Bronze Plus policiesHCI Gold
These funds charge single parents between 33 and 43 per cent more when they switch to a family policy.
“If you’re a single parent, it’s worth considering these policies to see if they can work for you,” CHOICE said.
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