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Sorting six health insurance myths from the facts

5 min read
15 Jun 2016

We can all get a little confused when it comes to understanding health insurance. We might not always like to admit it, but getting our heads around the lingo, the rates and premiums and what we should do when we’re hurt or sick can sometimes be a challenge.

In terms of hard truths; in April this year, the cost of health insurance premiums in Australia increased by an average of 5.59%, taking the total increase over the past four years to over 25%. So it makes it more important now than ever to separate myth from fact and educate yourself on health insurance before you purchase.

Understanding how health insurance works, and determining what cover will best suit your needs, can be a complicated task but it’s important that you educate yourself today about the industry and your health options so you don’t short-change yourself in the future!

We clear up on six common health insurance myths and give you some tips on how to overcome some of the health obstacles standing in your way:

Although the government covers most medical services through the Medicare system, Medicare only covers a certain amount of the cost. This includes free or subsidised treatment by health professionals, free treatment and accommodation in a public hospital and 75% of the Medicare Schedule fee for service and procedures if you are a private patient. If you don’t have health insurance, you might also be liable for the Medicare Levy Surcharge. Use our handy calculator to see if you’re impacted by the Medicare Levy Surcharge.

What should I do?

While Medicare will cover certain costs, having private health cover gives you greater control over your choice of hospital and doctor. So have a look into the benefits that private health insurance can provide; you may find you’re missing out! Check out what Medicare does and doesn’t cover and get some peace of mind.

Being fit and healthy doesn’t mean you won’t get injured or have an emergency. You have to be prepared for the worst, in whatever situation you may find yourself. Have a look at how many injuries you could sustain in just one year!

What should I do?

Health insurance can help you financially in all types of circumstances. From having your tonsils removed, breaking a bone, or getting ill. If you purchase an extras policy, you’ll get access to a range of non-hospital benefits too, such as dental, optical, physio and remedial massage.

As we grow older and our lives change, our health needs change too! Staying on the same policy for most of your life may not help you in the future. Policies don’t adapt to our personal health needs after all; we are the ones that need to make the decisions and switch!

What should I do?

As your life changes it’s always a good idea to review your insurance to make sure you’re appropriately covered. It’s also worth seeing what new products are on the market from time to time too. Have a look around and weigh your options.  Check out the many benefits of switching and how we can help you switch here.

There are a range of policies available at different price points and for most of us trying to balance our budgets, the impact of a health issue could cause serious and ongoing financial harm. That’s why the majority of Australians who have the best private health insurance policy are earning an income level close to the national average.

What should I do?

Check your income, check out policies and match accordingly. It can be a simple yet effective way to find private health insurance that works around your budget.

Health insurers aren’t legally required to cover pregnancy care, and it’s a commonly restricted condition in many health insurance policies. In particular, many cheaper policies exclude birth-related services to keep premiums down.

Pregnancy services aren’t the only common exclusion either. Some of the other conditions that can be restricted from health policies include major joint replacement surgeries, eye procedures, cardiac surgery, cosmetic surgery and reproductive services. Have a look at what birth-related services and covers are available.

What should I do?

Make sure to check your policy to see what treatments and services you are insured for.  If you need to change your policy to get covered for pregnancy care, remember that there will be a waiting period with your new fund. Always read the fine print and don’t be naive when it comes to your pregnancy care.

Health insurance policies are contract-free which means you can switch at any time. Many people don’t know that they’re not tied into their health insurance policy for a set amount of time. You can change your health provider any time and, subject to your claims history, your policy will refund any premiums you’ve already paid in advance.

What should I do?

Keep on looking around and switching! Some health insurance funds can also give you a 30 day cooling off period when signing up. If you change your mind in the first 30 days after joining and you haven’t made a claim, then you may be able to get a refund on any contributions you’d paid. In this case, loyalty doesn’t pay and changing your health insurance could be the wiser choice. Shop around and check out what private health insurance covers are on offer today.

We hope we’ve cleared up some health insurance myths for you. If you’ve got a better understanding why not jump onto our handy health insurance comparison tool.

If you are still confused chat to one of our health insurance experts on 13 32 32.

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