Oh no! Your health fund is increasing premiums again or your health fund has just suffered a cyberattack that threatens your personal information. What to do? Of course, you could always start looking at the public system (Medicare) and finding the differences between Medicare and private health insurance. But then, how do you compare health insurance in Australia when we do have such a great public health system? The best way to start your private health insurance comparison is to read the below then do a health insurance comparison through Billy Explores (and then find out if private health insurance is worth it.)
How To Do A Private Health Insurance Comparison
It can seem hard to choose a private health insurance policy. With so many products on the market, it can be hard to figure out which one is the best for your needs.
Most of the time, you can find a health insurance policy that works for you if you do some research (ie a private health insurance comparison). Billy Explores is here to help, so below are some great pointers to help your compare health insurance in Australia. Once you know the basics, you can jump right into a private health insurance comparison through Billy Explores!
Find Health Insurance That Covers What You’ll Actually Need
When it comes to private health insurance, there’s no one-size-fits-all product, so it’s important to find a plan that covers the medical services you’ll use or think you might need.
With hospital insurance tiers, Australia’s private health insurance reforms have made it easier than ever to understand what your private hospital insurance policy covers and what it doesn’t. You might find that the services you need are included in Bronze or Basic levels of coverage, which could have much lower premiums than higher-tiered products.
Gold and Silver products are more comprehensive private hospital cover options that you should think about if you want peace of mind knowing you’ll be covered for a wider range of medical treatments as a private patient.
You should also think about how much extras coverage (also called ancillary cover) you need. Extras can be helpful if you use them, but if you’re covered for services you don’t use, you could be wasting money. You might want to make a list of the health services you think you’ll need the most (like dental check-ups, physiotherapy appointments, and braces) and the ones you don’t think you’ll need (like acupuncture or massage) (e.g. podiatry).
You can also get a policy that covers both hospital care and extra costs. This is called a combined policy.
Talking to your doctor about what kind of private health insurance you should look into for your health needs is a great place to start.
Waiting Periods, Gaps And Limits
There are waiting periods when you get private health insurance for the first time or upgrade to a higher level of coverage. This is to stop people from making claims on their policies right after signing up and then cancelling before they pay any premiums (which would drive up premiums for everyone).
There are waiting periods for both extras and hospital policies, so keep this in mind when choosing a health insurance plan. These things:
- Most hospital and extra products last between 2 and 12 months.
- 12 months for any condition that was there before.
- 12 months for services related to being pregnant and giving birth
- 2 months for end-of-life care, rehab, and mental health care.
You’ll also need to find out if there are any limits on your extras policy. For example, if an item has an annual limit, you can only claim a certain amount for each service. This amount resets every year.
Any Specials Or Discounts?
The federal government wants you to get health insurance because it makes the public health care system less busy when you go to a private hospital for treatment. Because of this, there are a number of reasons to get private insurance:
rebates for private health insurance. Many Australians who buy a hospital, extras, or combined policy are eligible for a rebate from the Australian Government to help pay for premiums. The rebate is based on your income and can be taken off your premium or used as a tax credit when you file your tax return.
discounts based on age. Australians between the ages of 18 and 29 can get discounts on their hospital insurance premiums if they sign up when they are younger.
How Private Health Insurance Affects Your Taxes And Long-term Costs
On the other hand, there are also fees for people who don’t have enough insurance:
Lifetime Health Cover Loading (LHC). People who don’t sign up for private hospital insurance by July 1 of the year after their 31st birthday will have to pay more when they do. The LHC loading is 2% of your health insurance premium for each year you didn’t have coverage from the cut-off date. For example, a 35-year-old pays a 10% loading.
Extra cost for Medicare (MLS). If they don’t have valid hospital cover, people with high incomes have to pay an extra surcharge of up to 1.5% of their taxable income (depending on their income threshold) on top of their income tax. This is not the same as the Medicare tax, which most taxpayers pay whether or not they have health insurance.
What Stage of Life Are You In
Where you are in life can have a big effect on what kind of insurance you need.
Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself to help you decide which policy to buy:
- Do you already have any health problems that might need to be treated soon?
- Are there any health problems in your family that you could inherit?
- Do you want to start a family? If so, will you need obstetrics coverage? Remember that this insurance has a 12-month waiting period.
- Do you also have to get health insurance for your partner or your kids?
- What kinds of services do you use outside of a hospital that might be covered by an extras policy?
- How will your needs for health care change as you get older, and what services will you need?
Private health insurance is all about giving yourself more choices when you need medical care. So, you’ll need to ask yourself these questions again in the future to make sure your cover still works for you.
Make Changes To Your Private Health Insurance Policy To Make It Cheaper
Most of the time, you can change parts of your private health insurance to make your premiums cheaper. Think about these things:
Customise your excess. If you agree to pay more out of pocket if you go to the hospital and file a claim, your premiums will usually go down. Because your excess is a fixed amount, it won’t change whether you need treatment for one day or one month.
Pick a co-payment amount. A co-payment is a fee that you agree to pay every day that you are a hospital patient. If your co-payment is less than what the excess would be and you know how long you’ll be in the hospital, it could be the cheaper option. Some co-payments have a maximum amount per person, no matter how long you stay.
Do You Have Ambulance Cover If You Need It?
Did you know that in not all Australian states and territories, ambulances are free? Residents of Queensland and Tasmania are covered by their state governments, but Australians from other states will need to pay for their own ambulance coverage if they don’t want to pay the whole bill.
This means that if you need an ambulance but don’t have ambulance cover, you might have to pay a lot of money out of your own pocket. This is something else to keep in mind when picking health insurance. But remember that ambulance coverage can be bought separately from private health coverage, which may be more complete.
Do Your Private Health Insurance Comparison Annually
It’s always a good idea to re-evaluate your cover by doing a health insurance comparison, whether it’s because premium rates are going up across the industry or because your health fund wants to raise the price of your policy. In addition to making sure you still need the services your health insurance covers, this is a chance to see if you could get the same or similar product somewhere else for less money.
This can be done by doing research or using helpful tools like Billy Explores. It lets you compare policies, extras, benefits, and costs from different insurance companies in one place. It’s easy to use, it’s free!
Important Private Health Insurance Comparison Links
To start a health insurance comparison in Australia, see links below.
Compare Health Insurance
Difference Between Medicare and Private Health Insurance
Compare Private Health Insurance
Compare Health Insurance In Australia