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Changing my level of cover: what are my health insurance options?

Thinking of switching to another package? Bupa gives you excellent health insurance options, and makes switching easy, should you choose to change your health cover.

Can I change my health insurance cover on this website?

To change your level of cover on our website, you have to be registered for myBupa.

Only primary members can change their level of health insurance cover using member services on myBupa.

If you have Bupa Emergency Ambulance Cover or Bupa Overseas Visitor's Cover, you'll be able to change to Bupa Premium Hospital, Bupa Select Hospital, Bupa Premium Extras, Bupa Young Extras, or a combination of Hospitals or Extras cover through myBupa. However, you can't make any changes to your existing level of cover online and should phone us on 134 135 instead.

If you review your health insurance options on Bupa website and decide to change to a new level of health cover using myBupa, you will be able to make alterations to your new health insurance cover details online within three working days.

Please note that some corporate and group products are not supported by myBupa. Please contact Bupa on 134 135 to check your details and change your health cover.

If I upgrade my health insurance cover within Bupa, do I need to serve additional Bupa waiting periods before I can claim?

Yes. If you're upgrading to a health cover with higher benefits or additional services, waiting periods will apply to the additional benefits or services. However, you'll have continuity of membership at the same level of benefit entitlement for services common to both levels of health insurance cover.

This is provided that:

  • You have served the relevant waiting periods on your original health insurance cover
  • You switched within two months of ceasing membership of the previous product.

Where limits apply, any benefits paid by Bupa will be transferred to the new health insurance product.

How does changing cover affect the benefits I can claim for services?

This depends on whether you're switching to an equivalent package, upgrading to a higher level of cover or changing to a lower level of cover.

If you're increasing your level of cover (e.g. where the excess amount you pay is lower than what you have currently agreed to pay), the benefits you receive will be paid at the rate of your previous level of cover until you have satisfied the waiting periods on your new health cover.

If you're decreasing your level of cover, (egg, where you agree to pay a higher excess than you have currently agreed) benefits will be paid at the rate of your new cover immediately, as long as your waiting periods have been served on your previous level of cover. The limits you used on your previous level of cover will be carried forward to your new level of cover.

How does changing levels of health cover affect the limits on my claims?

Some services on Bupa products have lifetime or periodic limits. If you've received health insurance benefits for these services on your previous level of cover, the limits you've used will be carried forward to your new level of cover. This also applies to limits that are calculated on the number of times a year that the benefit for a particular service can be paid.

All limits are based on the calendar year (1 January to 31 December inclusive), except where stated otherwise. For example, if you transfer to Bupa Young Extras which has a limit for optical cover of $100 per person, and you claimed $50 on optical services under your previous fund during the year, your remaining limit will be $50.

Who has authority to change the level of health insurance cover on a membership?

Only the primary member on a Bupa membership may change or add to the Bupa level of health cover.

What about changing to hospital cover with dependant extension?

If you wish to cover an unmarried dependant (someone aged 21 to 24 inclusive who is no longer a full-time student), you'll need to pay an extra premium and change to a product that includes dependant extension. Take at look at our health insurance options for families.

Dependant extension is only available for members of Bupa Advantage Hospital or Bupa Premium Hospital. Rates will vary depending on your state of residence.

Any new dependants will be required to serve the normal waiting periods before they are able to make a claim on health insurance cover.

How does the extra 1% Medicare levy affect me if I change my cover?

The Federal Government has imposed an additional 1% Medicare levy on those above a specified level of income who don't have appropriate hospital cover for themselves, their partner or any dependants.

By choosing Bupa Hospital cover with a per person excess of $500 or less, you can have the peace of mind of knowing that the additional Medicare levy will not affect you from the date you join.

If you took out Hospital cover before 24 May 2000 with an annual per person excess greater than $500, you will be exempt from the additional 1% Medicare levy as long as you maintain continuous membership of your current hospital cover. If you change your Hospital cover for any reason and choose an excess of $1000, you may be liable to pay the additional 1% Medicare levy depending on your level of income.

For more details, contact Bupa or consult your accountant or taxation adviser.