The amount of time it actually takes to switch from one private health insurance provider to another isn’t an exact science. It really does depend on your provider, your policy and how quickly you provide the relevant information. On average, though, the process should only take a few days – although expect it to potentially take a few weeks for the paperwork to come through.
Aside from the time you spend comparing different policies and deciding on the one you want, a large chunk might be spent completing the application for your new policy. While actually filling out the paperwork is usually a swift process, the time it takes to be processed by your new provider can vary. Some insurers just process their applications faster than others.
You’ll also need to factor in the transfer certificate, which includes details about your previous coverage, waiting periods and claims history. Your new insurer will have to request this directly from your old insurer, which can take time as well. In most cases, they are legally required to supply the transfer certificate within 14 days.
Given all these variables and more, it's important for you to plan ahead when switching providers. Be prepared for the process to take a bit of time, but rest easy knowing that the Private Health Insurance Act 2007 is designed to protect consumers who want to make a switch.