Health insurance extras cover is a very popular insurance product – did you know that around 54.5% of Aussies had extras cover as at September 2021? Here are Billy Explores, we know that if Aussies love extras cover, then we have to help them get the best private health insurance, and the best extras cover from our panel of providers! But what things do you have to consider if you want the best extras cover? Can you actually just purchase extras cover by itself? So many questions! Thankfully Billy Explores is here to help you answer them all. After we’ve answered your questions about extras cover, then let’s help you find the best extras cover for your needs from our panel of providers and compare health funds!
What is Private Health Insurance Extras Cover?
Normally purchased as part of your private health insurance, extras cover covers smaller medical expenses not covered under your general hospital cover or the Medicare scheme. Depending on your health fund, it can also include other ancillary health items that help your general health and wellbeing such as paying for gym or natural therapies.
As with hospital cover, health insurance providers will offer different levels of extras policy cover, and can include items such as:
- Dental treatment
- Medical equipment/appliances
- Optical (such as glasses or contact lenses)
- Speech therapy
- Alternative and Natural therapies (acupuncture, naturopathy)
- Chiropractic treatment
- Gym memberships and other health programs
- Pharmaceuticals not covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
If you know you are going to use a lot of these services, it’s a great idea to have the appropriate services covered under your health insurance extras –those that aren’t covered under general Medicare.
Are There Different Levels of Extras Cover?
Dependent on your private health insurance provider, extras cover is generally available in three different levels.
Basic Extras: Like the name suggests, you’ll get the basics such as optical, chiro, dental and physiotherapy. If you don’t have a lot of ongoing medical concerns, this might be the only extras cover you need.
Medium Extras: You’ll have a few more included services in medium extras cover. Items like psychology, podiatry, major dental/orthodontic and remedial massage could be included. You also might get higher annual limits than the basic cover.
Comprehensive Extras: As we go up the scale, the inclusions keep increasing. If you’re into natural therapies, or need medical appliances like hearing aids, even orthotics, this this is the cover for you. Again, the amount you can claim could increase too. When you choose comprehensive cover, make sure you really need the extra benefits or you could be wasting money.
Tip: When you’re comparing private health insurance in Australia, you’re going want to make sure you get the right extras cover for your needs. People often don’t think about the levels of health insurance, and choose a higher cover than they need and this is where savings can be made. When you check the additional benefits of high level extras cover, think carefully about whether you’re taking advantage of them. If not, you can reduce your level and save some dollars in the process.
What Are Annual Limits?
All extras policy cover have what are called “benefit limits” – essentially this means how much you can claim and be reimbursed for each specific treatment in a calendar year.
The amount you can claim back depends on a number of factors which includes: which service you’re claiming, and the maximum limit your policy provides. Another factor is whether your health fund covers (a) a certain percentage of the costs or (b) benefits up to a set dollar amount. It’s always best to check with your health fund – and if you’re not happy with your extras cover, find the best extras cover for your needs and compare health insurance providers through Billy Explores!
What Are Waiting Periods?
A waiting period is the amount of time you may have to wait before accessing your extras cover benefits. For instance, if you took out an extras policy cover today you may have to wait a 6-months before claiming on dental expenses.
Depending on your level of cover, you may be exempt from all waiting periods. Some health funds also offer reduced waiting periods as a special offer to sign on – a great idea if you know you will use the service, need to compare health funds and are comparing private health insurance in Australia.
Also, it’s worthwhile asking if you what to compare health insurance providers is to ask if want to switch, you won’t be subject to new waiting periods. That is, unless you have different levels of health insurance or a different extras cover than previously a higher level of cover with services you’ve not previously waited for.