// A new WA startup looks to help Australian households take control of soaring health insurance costs.
One of the fastest rising costs for Australian households has been health insurance, with price increases ranging from 3%-6% a year over the past six years – depending on your insurer – and rising 37% overall.
This has led many Aussies to either cancel their policies altogether or purchase lower quality policies in order to save money. A report from late last year calculated that 60% of Australians will drop their cover by 2030.
In order to solve this problem, co-founder and CEO of WA startup iSelf Neale Wilson pondered the question: what if people better understood their own circumstances, could they then choose the best yet still afford hospital cover?
Employing big data and analytics via its proprietary platform, iSelf offers access to more than 550 hospitals across the country and in excess of 36,000 doctors.
“We are extremely proud to announce the launch of iSelf Health Insurance,” Neale told Startup News. “It is a common problem for Australians that they find health insurance both confusing and increasingly unaffordable.”
Health insurance is issued by the Phoenix Health Fund, which is a member-owned, not for profit fund with 65 years of experience. iSelf incorporates access to the Australian fintech Raiz Invest Limited investment platform.
Health Strength Calc
Working with leading Australian actuarial firm Finity Consulting, iSelf has also developed Australia’s first patented health strength calculator.
iSelf’s calculator provides individuals and couples with a health score, and their associated likeliness of requiring hospital treatment. The higher the score, the healthier you are, and the less likely it is you will require hospital treatment.
“In this way, iSelf is unique in Australia as it employs real data and analytics to inform customers as to their risk of requiring hospital treatment,” said Neale.
“This doesn’t mean people shouldn’t have hospital insurance, nor for that matter the best. It does, however, empower customers to maximize their excesses to manage their premiums. The end result is helping make health insurance both simpler and more affordable,” he said.
A rigorous process of literature and data review coupled with experimentation, iteration, and more experimentation was undertaken in developing iSelf’s calculator.
The key was to identify and focus on the key factors that could predict the likeliness of hospitalisation, which then formed the basis of the calculator and iSelf’s Health insurance recommendations.
iSelf’s approach allows those in good health to make informed choices on their levels of excess in order to help manage their premium costs and health insurance affordability.
iSelf also wants to challenge the need for the well-advertised ‘Extras’, by providing an ‘Extras Check-Up’ tool.
“We recognise that everyone is different, and while Extra’s coverage makes sense for some it shouldn’t be the default position for all,” said Neale.
Users can compare whether ‘Extras’ are indeed worth it. If you are paying more than what you might get back, why not remove Extras and self-insure?
Neale and the iSelf team are looking to disrupt the $24 billion Australian Health Insurance industry by getting the focus back to the customer and putting them first.
For more visit iSelf.