Top Tips For Comparing Private Health Insurance
“Billy! Please help! We’re about to compare health insurance providers and private health insurance policies from your panel of providers through you, but we need to understand more about what we should look for when selecting and comparing private health insurance in Australia!” Never fear, of course Billy Explores is more than happy to help you understand more about what to look for when comparing health insurance in Australia. Read on to find out more!
What is Private Health Insurance?
Private health insurance is cover you buy to cover yourself for any medical expenses you may have in the future. It is made up of two separate components – hospital cover and extras cover. Billy has already done the hard yards for you and has some very handy guides here for you to read.
What Should I Look For When Comparing Health Insurance?
We know it seems complicated to compare health insurance providers, but it doesn’t have to be! You just need to know what to look for when you start comparing health insurance policies, and with some research and planning, you’ll usually be able to select a health insurance policy that works for you. Here are some tips to know what health insurance policy will give you the most benefit:
Find Cover For Things You Will Actually Use
Life would be so much easier if we had a cookie cutter approach to life and we were all identical! However this isn’t the case – we are all different and just like with private health insurance there is no one size fits all approach unfortunately. You just have to find a health insurance policy that offers what you really need for the best value (that’s the first step in comparing health insurance).
When you review a health insurance provider, check out what options they offer in each tier. You may find the services you really need are in the bronze or basic levels, which can be a lot cheaper than the top tiers. Of course, if you need you can also review the inclusions of the gold and silver products as they have more comprehensive options.
Don’t forget to review the extras policy as well for out of hospital medical care. Before you start comparing extras health insurance, it’s a great idea to also chat with your doctor regarding the services you could potentially use and then compare the different private health providers.
Find Out How Much You Can Claim, And When
There’s a pesky thing called ‘waiting periods’ you need to be aware of. If you’re taking out private health insurance for the first time or upgrading from a lower level of cover to something larger, you’ll need to sit out the waiting period. This waiting period is to stop people from claiming on their policies immediately after signing up, and then canceling before they pay any premiums. This wouldn’t be fair as it would mean higher premiums for everyone else.
Understand Gap Fees
Many health insurance providers offer preferred providers which reduce your out of pocket expenses by offering a ‘no gap fee’. This is an important thing to review when you’re comparing health insurance providers. Which funds offer providers close to you that you can utilize if you need to as part of your extras policy? Make sure you check out each list and incorporate this into your comparison.
What Annual Limits Will You Be Subject To
Each year you will only be able to claim up to a certain amount for each service you claim. This is called “an annual limit”. When you start comparing health insurance providers and are looking for a health insurance policy, then make sure to compare the annual limits for each policy. Especially if you know you will be needing a specific service more.
What Health Insurance Providers are Offering Discounts or Rebates?
When you’re set to compare health insurance providers, there’s often many insurers looking for your business which means better deals and discounts / offers for you to join. Of course, this ALSO means awesome news for you and a great opportunity to save some money! Some will waive waiting periods or offer the first month fee. Make sure you ask for any discounts or offers when you start your comparison journey!
Will You Get A Tax Break?
The Aussie government has been great in ensuring we have a great Medicare system, Billy loves it! However, it is worthwhile to make sure you that you’re still covered by the various Aussie Government requirements and compare accordingly:
- Lifetime health cover loading. People who don’t take out private hospital insurance before 1 July after their 31st birthday will pay more for cover when they do take it out.
- Medicare levy surcharge (MLS). High-income earners are subject to paying a surcharge of up to 5% (depending on the income threshold they are in) on top of their income tax if they don’t hold valid hospital cover. This is separate from the Medicare levy, which most taxpayers pay – regardless of whether they have insurance or not.
What Stage Of Life Are You At?
Of course, when you’re looking to compare health insurance providers, what stage of life you’re in will determine what kind of health insurance may be the most appropriate and best value for your requirements.
Billy is always helpful, so here are some questions to ask yourself so you can find the best policy for your needs:
- Does your family have any hereditary health conditions that could effect you?
- Do you have any pre-existing conditions that may require treatment?
- Do you have a family that you need to take out health cover for?
- Are you looking to start a family so do you need pregnancy and birth cover (remember the waiting periods!
- Do you use any type of out-of-hospital medical services that could be covered by an extras policy?
- Think about how your health needs will change as you age and which services will you need access to
Don’t forget, private health insurance is about giving yourself more options for treatment when you need them. As such, you’ll have to ask yourself these questions again in the future to make sure your cover still makes sense.
Is Ambulance Cover Included In Your Private Health Insurance Or Extras Policy?
This surprisingly is something many people forget about! If you’re based in Queensland or Tasmania you’re in luck as Queensland and Tasmanian state governments cover residents in these states. Unfortunately this means that Aussies everywhere else will require this specific cover to avoid footing the whole bill of the journey to hospital.
Make Sure You Compare Health Insurance in Australia Often!
While most health insurance providers think you’ll just sit around and take increases year after year, you don’t have to! Make sure you compare your private health insurance in Australia through Billy Explores regularly. Once a year when premiums increase is a great time to do it! Save time and effort and explore potential savings by comparing health insurance policies from our panel of providers today.