Private Health Insurance: Money Saving Ideas
Private Health Insurance. It’s one of those things that you think you’ll never need, but then you actually need it! Well, the good news for Aussies is that the Billy Explores team has come together and prepared this handy guide for private health insurance here in Australia. If you’ve looking for the best private health insurance companies for your needs, to find the best health insurance deals, or to compare health insurance and then switch health insurance to another private health insurance provider, we’ve got the information for you! Here are some handy information and tips on your private health insurance and how to save money on your private health insurance, as well as what to look for in a health insurance provider!
What Is Private Health Insurance?
We all would probably have heard about health insurance. But what actually is it? Before we can go deeper into giving you more information, we need to understand what private health insurance cover actually is.
Health insurance protects you against unexpected costs associated with illness or medical treatment. You’ll be covered for all or part of certain medical expenses, depending on the level of cover you choose. You can choose to have both hospital cover and extras cover, or just hospital cover in your policy. You also have the option of individual health insurance cover, or family health insurance cover.
Of course, you should always compare health insurance policies to make sure they fit your particular situation.
What is Hospital Cover?
Hospital cover gives you peace of mind. If you need to go to hospital, you have more options than the Medicare public system provides. Some of the benefits of hospital cover include:
- No public hospital waiting lists.
- Choice of doctors and surgeons.
- Chance of a private hospital room.
- Cost of hospital stay is covered by insurance.
- Avoid Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading if you take out cover before age 31.
- Receive the Australian Government Private Health Insurance Rebate.
- Exempt from Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS).
There’s four different levels of hospital cover – Basic, Bronze, Silver and Gold. When you compare hospital cover, make sure you check what’s included in the policy because you don’t want to pay for cover you don’t need.
What is Health Insurance Extras Cover?
Health Insurance extras covers It covers smaller medical expenses not covered under your general hospital cover. As with hospital cover, health insurance providers will offer different levels of extras cover, and it will include items such as:
- Dental treatment
- Optical (such as glasses or contact lenses)
- Medical equipment/appliances
- Alternative and Natural therapies (acupuncture, naturopathy)
- Chiropractic treatment
- Pharmaceuticals not covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
- Gym memberships and other health programs
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 – these extra aren’t’ covered under general medicare. Just make sure you check out any stipulations such waiting periods.
How To Save Money On Your Health Insurance Policy
Only Pay For What You Need
Understand what your health cover provides. You may want hospital cover, but in contrast you’re not too concerned about extras. There’s no point paying for dental or optical if you genuinely don’t have a need for it.
Many private health funds have a range of inclusions in their extras cover, and many of them may not apply to you. Insurance is there to cover you for the unexpected. However, you will have a good idea of what you realistically need and don’t need. Of course, this also includes any out-of-pocket expenses.
Higher Excess Normally Means A Cheaper Health Insurance Policy
If you’re looking to pay less for your policy, or for cheaper health insurance payment overall, increasing your insurance excess is a good way to do it. The excess is a one-off payment you make if you need to claim on your hospital cover. You can set your excess at a higher level, and this will reduce your monthly premium.
If you’re almost certain you won’t need to claim because you’re in good health, you can save money here. If you don’t think you’ll be heading to hospital any time soon, a higher excess is recommended.
Claim Your Rebate!
The Australian government has allowed for reduced health insurance premium payments by way of a rebate. This reduces your monthly health insurance premiums and helps cover the cost of your premiums. It is income tested.
Make Any Claims Promptly
With the age of technology we’re currently in, for many services, your hospital, doctor or general treatment provider can claim your health fund benefit and deduct it from your bill right there and then. This saves lots of time with paperwork etc. If not, you may have to pay the full bill and claim a refund of some of the bill from your health fund (which can mean lots of paperwork), although many private health insurance providers offer a seamless experience on their member dashboards now.
- It is safer to make any claims for health fund benefits as soon as possible after receiving treatment. This reduces the risk of misplacing receipts or accounts and your benefit is paid sooner.
- If you are claiming by post it is a good idea to keep a copy of any accounts or receipts you send to your fund.
- Most private health funds won’t pay benefits if you make a claim two years after the health service was provided. If legal action or other unforeseen circumstances are likely to prevent you from making a claim in time, contact your fund. The fund may be able to extend the claim period if you let them know beforehand.
Use Your Extras and Know Your Limit
You don’t want to pay for something you don’t use in your private health insurance, or pay exorbitant amounts for out of pocket expenses. The best private health insurance providers will provide detailed information in terms of your benefit limits and how much you’ve got left to spend. This is normally available in your health fund’s online dashboard.
Again, if you have paid for extras like gym or remedial massage, make sure you either claim it or use it! You don’t want to pay for something you are not using.
It pays to regularly review your health insurance, including hospital cover and any extras to make sure you are fully covered and utilising it. Of course, if it no longer suits your needs then make the switch.
The Best Health Insurance Deals
Of course, we all know if you’re looking for the best health insurance deals, you’ll be able to compare health insurance from our panel of providers through health then easily switch health insurance to a new health fund that meets your needs. It’s easy and you could potentially save money and get a better health insurance deal that’s prefect for you!