Is health insurance worth it in Australia?

Posted: Oct 24 2022

Australian citizens are eligible to have a portion of their healthcare costs paid for by a government healthcare scheme called Medicare. People covered by Medicare have the option to purchase private health insurance. You may be wondering, if you already have Medicare, is health insurance worth it in Australia?

What does Private Health Insurance cover?

Answering the question of whether or not health insurance is worth it in Australia can be complicated. Understanding the coverage you receive is an important starting point. Private health insurance covers a portion of the treatment cost for private patients in private or public hospitals. It may also cover some services that Medicare does not, such as optical, dental, physiotherapy and chiropractic care. (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, n.d.)

What are the benefits of having Private Health Insurance?

People who have private health insurance may have more healthcare choices. Patients may also receive treatment faster at a private hospital than at a public one, which often will have a longer waiting list. Additionally, the government provides incentives to further encourage citizens to purchase private insurance.

Most Australians pay a Medicare levy of 2% of their taxable income. Taxpayers who have taxable income above a specific amount must pay a Medicare Levy Surcharge of up to 1.5% on top of the Medicare levy. These taxpayers can save money on the surcharge by purchasing suitable private health insurance. (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, n.d.) With Health Partners you can choose great value cover and have confidence knowing all of our hospital covers can help you avoid the need to pay the MLS.

Taxpayers whose income is below a specific amount may receive a private health insurance rebate from the government if they purchase private health insurance that meets the minimum requirements. If you qualify for this rebate, you will receive it either as lower insurance premiums or as an offset on your annual tax return. The discounts and surcharges that may apply when you choose to purchase or not purchase insurance should factor into your answer to the question, "Is health insurance worth it in Australia?" (Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care, 2021)

What is Lifetime Health Cover?

Lifetime Health Cover is a government program that encourages people to purchase health insurance before the age of 31. People who wait until they are 31 or older to purchase private health insurance may pay higher premiums for 10 years unless they are exempt or qualify for a special circumstances category. (PrivateHealth.gov.au, n.d.)

What do you need to know to decide if health insurance is worth it in Australia?

There are several things you should know about private health insurance before deciding whether to purchase it:

  • It isn’t required, but not purchasing it can result in the Medicare Levy Surcharge for some people.
  • There are many insurance products on the market, and the cheapest option may not always be the best one.
  • Not all policies will cover the medical providers and services you need. Carefully review the terms of each policy before you make a purchase.
  • You need to assess your healthcare needs and choose a policy that provides adequate cover for the present and future. Regularly review your cover and make changes as your healthcare needs change.
  • It doesn’t cost extra to change insurers, and you may not have to go through another waiting period with a new insurer. (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, n.d.)
  • Everyone pays the same rates for the same policy.
  • No health insurer can refuse to sell you a policy that you want to buy.
  • No health insurer can refuse to renew your policy as long as you pay your premiums. (Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care, 2021)
  • Some people aged 30 or younger may receive free coverage on their parents' health funds. (Do I Need Private Health Insurance Before I'm 30?, 2021)

Is Health Insurance worth it in Australia for the cost?

The cost of private health insurance varies depending on the company and cover you choose. Most Australians can get a rebate on a portion of their premium expense depending on their income. You can determine how much your rebate is by using the private health insurance rebate calculator. (PrivateHealth.gov.au, n.d.)

People who are aged 18-29 may receive a discount of up to 10% on their premiums. You can keep this discount until you turn 41. This discount does not apply to people who are covered on someone else’s policy as a dependant. (PrivateHealth.gov.au, n.d.)

How can you determine whether a policy is good value?

All insurers must provide updated information about their policies and prices to the Australian government. You can use the comparison tool on the government’s private health website to compare insurance policies from each of the private health insurers in Australia. (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, n.d.)

Is Health Insurance worth it in Australia?

The answer to this question depends on your circumstances and preferences. Private health insurance may be worth it to you if one or more conditions apply:

  • You want to reduce your risk of unexpected medical expenses by increasing the number of services covered by insurance and decreasing your potential out-of-pocket costs.
  • You are likely to receive a higher level of benefits than what you will have to pay for your private health insurance premiums.
  • You prefer the shorter wait times, increased comfort and higher level of privacy afforded by having access to healthcare as a private patient in a private hospital, and you are willing to pay extra for these benefits.
  • You are a young person who is not covered on your parents’ plan and you want to avoid the potentially higher premiums you may pay if you wait until you are age 31 or older to buy insurance.
  • Your income makes you subject to the Medicare Levy Surcharge and you want to save money on your taxes.

Is Health Insurance worth it in Australia with Health Partners?

We believe that everyone deserves generous private health insurance and that the increased choice and control you get when you purchase our health cover is worth the cost. We offer confusion-free hospital cover that our members choose to stay with longer than other health funds (healthpartners.com.au, n.d.) Whatever your budget, we offer a great value private health cover to suit your needs. Visit us online to compare plans and get a quote.

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If there’s one thing we’re sure of, it’s that our members are satisfied with their health insurance. We've been awarded Australia’s Most Satisfied Health Insurance Customers by Canstar, five years in a row.

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References:

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission. (n.d.). Private health insurance | ACCC. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Retrieved August 31, 2022, from https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/health-home-travel/private-health-insurance

Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. (2021, August 18). About private health insurance. Australian Government Department of Health. Retrieved August 31, 2022, from https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/private-health-insurance/about-private-health-insurance?utm_source=health.gov.au&utm_medium=callout-auto-custom&utm_campaign=digital_transformation

6 health insurance questions for under 30s answered. Do I need private health insurance before I'm 30? (2021, June 25). CHOICE. Retrieved August 31, 2022, from https://www.choice.com.au/money/insurance/health/articles/health-insurance-for-under-30s

healthpartners.com.au (n.d.). Award-winning health cover. healthpartners.com.au. Retrieved October 20, 2022, from https://www.healthpartners.com.au/award-winning-health-cover

PrivateHealth.gov.au. (n.d.). Age-based Discount. PrivateHealth.gov.au. Retrieved August 31, 2022, from https://privatehealth.gov.au/health_insurance/surcharges_incentives/discount_age.htm

PrivateHealth.gov.au. (n.d.). Australian Government Private Health Insurance Rebate. PrivateHealth.gov.au. Retrieved August 31, 2022, from https://privatehealth.gov.au/health_insurance/surcharges_incentives/insurance_rebate.htm

PrivateHealth.gov.au. (n.d.). Lifetime Health Cover. PrivateHealth.gov.au. Retrieved August 31, 2022, from https://privatehealth.gov.au/health_insurance/surcharges_incentives/lifetime_health_cover.ht

Posted: Oct 24 2022

Disclaimer

The information contained here is of a general nature and does not take into account your personal medical situation. The information is not a substitute for independent professional medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or used for therapeutic purposes. Should you require specific medical information, please seek advice from your healthcare practitioner. Health Partners does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them.

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