In early October, the Federal Government announced new reforms designed to overhaul the private health insurance industry. Many of these changes are going to have a huge impact on the affordability of health insurance, which can only be good news for many Australians.
So, what are the changes, and how could they affect you?
Discounts for younger Australians
18-29 year olds will enjoy up to a two per cent discount on hospital insurance premiums for each year they are aged under 30. The discount is capped at 10%. Young Aussies will receive this discount until they turn 40, provided they continuously hold cover.
Mental illness benefits
Anyone with limited mental health cover will get a one-time option to instantly upgrade to full in-hospital mental health services. No waiting period needs to be sat to take advantage of this upgrade.
One in five Aussies experience a mental health condition in any year, according to the Black Dog Institute. Treatment can be complex, expensive, and is rarely a ‘quick fix’. It’s just one more reason why these private health insurance reforms are good for so many Australians.
These changes will take effect on the 1 April 2018.
Clearer classifications when you’re choosing cover
It’ll be easier to sort the good policies from the bad with new classifications for all hospital insurance policies:
In addition, extras policies will be categorised as gold, silver or bronze. You’ll also know exactly what level of cover you have because all definitions for treatments will be standardised.
These changes take effect on the 1 April 2019.
Cheaper prostheses will lead to more affordable insurance
The Government has entered into an agreement with the Medical Technology Association of Australia. By February 2018, the minimum benefits of almost all prostheses & medical devices will be lowered.
It currently costs lots of money to subsidise these devices, and so reducing prostheses expenditure means that health insurance premiums can remain affordable in the future.
Higher excesses equal cheaper premiums
An excess is the one-off payment you need to make every time you claim on your private health insurance. You can reduce your monthly premiums by electing to pay a more expensive excess, but the amount you can raise it to is capped.
The maximum excess will be raised in 2019 from $500 to $750 for singles, or from $1,000 to $1,500 for couples/families.
So, if you choose a larger excess, you’ll be able to reduce your monthly premiums.
Allowances for those living in rural/regional Australia
It’s not always easy to get specialist treatment when you live in regional or rural areas, unless you travel great distances.
On 1 April 2019, these Aussies may be able to claim travel & accommodation allowances from their insurers when they travel for treatment, provided their insurer includes this on their policy.
So, what now?
Until the reforms come into effect, you still need to find health insurance that’s (a) good value, (b) covers your health needs, and (c) won’t restrict your ability to claim.
In other words, why wait to find the right policy?
If you still have questions, give our experts a call. They’ll help you understand this product, and make sure your current health insurance policy is still right for you.
It’s that simple.