When it comes to your and your family's health, there are many things to consider when comparing health insurance coverage that best fits your needs. When you're considering your options, conducting a private health insurance comparison is wise to have a thorough grasp on the options available to you. Switching to private health insurance doesn't have to be complicated, especially if you understand the types of plans and how those plans can best suit you.
While Medicare does offer treatment as a public patient and a set of non-hospital services under the public health system, private health insurance gives you a more comprehensive range of health services. Including the ability to choose your doctors and specialists, more choice and control about your surgery and avoiding public system waiting lists.
One of the most common reasons Australians choose private health insurance stems from the potential for long wait times when seeking treatment through the public health care system for non-urgent procedures (Krishnan, 2021). In addition, private coverage allows access to services that Medicare doesn't cover (Services Australia, 2022), such as:
Most insurers provide methods for you to make your own private health insurance comparison on their websites. You can use their search functions to explore the various levels of coverage and types of services they provide coverage for.
The Australian government provides a tax rebate to encourage you to purchase private health insurance (Taxation Office, 2022). The precise incentive is income tested and involves a calculation of your household's taxable income, reportable fringe benefits, and any amount upon which you've paid family trust distribution tax.
There are many situations in which it is better to have a choice about to whom you entrust your and your family's health care. Private insurance allows you to choose your hospital and doctor to tailor your health care to your family's preferences and needs. When you make a private health insurance comparison, you're exploring your right to choose the best providers for you and your family.
As you research private health insurance, be sure to take into account the makeup of your family. The availability and pricing of the available plans vary according to how many members the policy will cover. Most private insurers offer plans for:
Beyond the numbers, however, any private health insurance comparison should consider how you and your family will use the plan (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, n.d.). If you have the possibility of an immediate medical need, such as having a baby, experiencing a sports-related injury, or needing a hip replacement, then be aware that some private health insurance plans require a waiting period.
For instance, if you're planning to have a baby, all health funds require a 12-month waiting period before covering Pregnancy and birth. The same one-year waiting period also applies to most pre-existing conditions, too. However, palliative care, rehabilitation, and psychiatric care only require a two-month waiting period (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, n.d.).
If you're changing insurers or policies with a similar level of cover, waiting periods usually don't apply, including if the switch is a result of an insurer's change to your current policy. Before changing providers it is important to speak with your new insurer to see what you are covered for and associated waiting periods.
Similarly, lower-tier private policies might not entirely cover unpredictable needs like cardiac conditions, reconstructive surgery, or psychiatric care. Be sure to read the exclusions while you make your private health insurance comparison and make a decision based on your unique situation.
With more than 100 potential plans available for comparison (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, n.d.), how can you narrow down your choices and make a smart decision? Before you look at dozens of individual plans and juxtapose them with your particular circumstances, review these three major plan categories to narrow down your options.
Hospital-only policies cover hospital accommodation and treatment, including whether you prefer to stay at a private or public hospital (HealthDirect Australia, 2020). You can also avoid public system waiting lists and stay in available private rooms; hospital cover allows you to choose your preferred specialists. Hospital-only cover is available in four tiers: Gold, Silver, Bronze, or Basic (Private Health, n.d.).
An alternative to a hospital-only plan is a policy that includes both hospital cover and ancillaries, or "extras," that aren't typically covered by Medicare. These services are essential if maintaining your health and practising preventative care are vital to you, and extras cover may reduce your overall treatment costs.
When you conduct your private health insurance comparison, look for the types of ancillary services covered in the hospital and extras policy. Most plans include a selection of these common extras:
In some cases, you may be seeking private health insurance comparison for extras-only plans, and most insurers offer policies of varying levels of coverage. For instance, we offer four options so you can choose only the coverage you need at a cost that fits your budget, from just the basics to comprehensive cover.
Whether you're ready to make the change to private health insurance or are simply taking the first step of making a private health insurance comparison, our representatives at Health Partners are available to help answer your questions. Switching to private health insurance is a big decision, but it doesn't need to be an intimidating one. We can help you determine which category of plans is most appropriate for your needs and then work with you to select a policy that supports your health and your budget. Reach out to us today for more information or a free quote to get started.
Everyone deserves generous private health insurance. Give yourself more choice and control when it comes to your health with a fund that’s run for members.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. (n.d.). Private health insurance | ACCC. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Retrieved November 1, 2022, from https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/consumer-products-and-activities/private-health-insurance
Commonwealth Ombudsman. (n.d.). Private Health Information Statements. Australian Government: Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman. Retrieved November 1, 2022, from https://www.privatehealth.gov.au/health_insurance/howitworks/phis_guide.htm
Department of Health and Aged Care. (2022, January 14). What private health insurance covers. Australian Government: Department of Health. Retrieved November 1, 2022, from https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/private-health-insurance/what-private-health-insurance-covers
HealthDirect Australia. (2020, April). Private health insurance. Healthdirect. Retrieved November 1, 2022, from https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/private-health-insurance
Krishnan, S. (2021, August 4). Is private health insurance worth it? SBS. Retrieved November 2, 2022, from https://www.sbs.com.au/language/english/en/article/is-private-health-insurance-worth-it/eul8z2v6j
PrivateHealth. (n.d.). How Health Insurance Works. PrivateHealth.gov.au. Retrieved November 1, 2022, from https://www.privatehealth.gov.au/health_insurance/index.htm
Private Health. (n.d.). Search. Compare Policies. Retrieved November 2, 2022, from https://www.privatehealth.gov.au/dynamic/search
Services Australia. (2022, July 7). Health care and Medicare - Medicare. Australian Government: Services Australia. Retrieved November 2, 2022, from https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/health-care-and-medicare?context=60092
Taxation Office. (2022, July 1). Private health insurance rebate. Australian Government: Taxation Office. Retrieved November 2, 2022, from https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Medicare-and-private-health-insurance/Private-health-insurance-rebate/
© Copyright Health Partners. 2023 All Rights Reserved.