Here is a summary of the things you should consider
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Here’s what emergency transportation costs in each state
|State/Territory||Callout fee||Per kilometre charges||Current as of:|
|ACT||$936.00 (treatment & transport)||$12 per km travelled outside of ACT||1 July 2017|
|NSW||$372.00||$3.35||1 July 2017|
|NT||$745.00||$4.80||1 September 2015|
|SA||$955.00||$5.50||1 July 2017|
|VIC||$1,204.00 (Metropolitan Emergency Road) $1,776 (Regional and Rural Emergency Road)||N/A||1 July 2017|
|WA||$949.00 (life threatening/urgent conditions)||N/A||Unknown|
N.B. Information current as of April 2018
Guess what? You may be eligible for a Federal Government rebate on the price of your health insurance. If so, you can choose between a discounted premium, or claiming the rebate back through your tax return. The rebate amounts are as follows:
|< age 65||25.41%||16.94%||8.47%.||0%|
Hospital cover contributes towards the cost of your treatment as a private patient in a private or public hospital. It pays benefits for hospital accommodation, theatre and surgery fees, patient meals, prostheses, medical supplies and nursing care for services and treatments provided in hospital that are included in your policy.
Also known as ancillary cover, an extras policy helps cover the cost of out-of-hospital services and products like dental care, physiotherapy, prescription glasses, occupational therapy and many other services that Medicare doesn’t cover.
Ambulance cover is usually included in most hospital or extras policies, but some insurers will offer it as a stand-alone (emergency or comprehensive) policy. Standalone ambulance policies can be more comprehensive than the ambulance cover that may be included on your hospital or extras policy. Depending on your circumstances and where you live, you may be eligible for free ambulance coverage through your state government. For more information, check out our ambulance cover page.
There are several advantages to taking out a private health insurance policy, such as being able to:
Potentially save on tax (Medicare Levy Surcharge).
Generally, your private hospital policy may not cover or will have limitations on:
Private health insurance policies come with various exclusions and restrictions on benefits for certain treatments and services. As such, you should always read your policy brochure to find out exactly what you’re covered for.
Besides offering peace of mind that you’ll be covered against unforeseen health or medical problems, private health insurance offers unparalleled security, flexibility and greater control over your health care. That’s why over half of Australia’s population has some type of private health insurance.3
Private hospital cover allows you to receive medical treatment in a private hospital and choose your own doctor and surgeon if they’re available. Waiting times for elective surgery are also typically shorter for private patients in a private hospital compared to the public hospital system. With hospital cover, you may even get your own private room if there’s one available.
Extras insurance also provides rebates towards general treatments outside of a hospital which aren’t covered by Medicare, such as dental, optical and physiotherapy.
High-income earners can avoid paying the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) by holding a suitable level of private hospital cover with a registered health fund. The MLS is an additional tax between 1% and 1.5% of your income, payable once you earn over $93,000 a year as an individual or $186,000 as a couple or family.
Health insurance is not compulsory in Australia. However, if you’re wondering whether you need private health insurance or not, you should first consider what’s important to you and your family, both now and in the future. Our quiz is a great place to start.
It’s difficult to know when you’ll need health insurance because you often don’t know when you’ll have to go to hospital until it happens. When you’re young and healthy, it may not seem necessary, but nobody is immune to accidents or illness. As such, purchasing health insurance sooner rather than later could be beneficial and save you money in the long term.
It might actually pay to take out hospital insurance early in life; some health funds offer discounts on hospital cover of up to 10% to Australians aged between 18 and 29 as an incentive to take out cover sooner. This discount lasts until you’re 41, provided you maintain your hospital insurance policy or only switch to policies that retain your age-based discount.
Taking out hospital cover before 1 July following your 31st birthday could also save you from paying the Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading. LHC is a government initiative that adds a 2% loading to your hospital cover premiums for each year you’re over 31 and don’t have appropriate hospital cover.
So, if you were to take out hospital cover at 40 and hadn’t held this cover at any point since 1 July following your 31st birthday, you’d need to pay an additional 20% on your hospital premiums.
The cost of private health insurance varies between health funds, levels of coverage and where you live in Australia. The government offers income-tested rebates on private health insurance to help Australians pay for their private health cover. For example, the standard rebate for singles under 65 earning less than $93,000 a year is 24.608%.4 Your total rebate entitlements will depend on your taxable income, age and relationship/parental status.
It’s also important to consider the LHC which will increase your premiums by 2% for each year that you don’t hold hospital cover after the age of 30. The LHC loading comes into effect on the 1st of July following your 31st birthday if you don’t hold hospital cover. While private health insurance might seem expensive right now, if you plan to take out cover eventually, it may be beneficial to start a policy now.
If you’re tossing up whether health insurance is worth the cost, you should first ask yourself if you can afford not to have it. Remember that the possible out-of-pocket expenses for private treatment without private health insurance coverage could cost you more than your health insurance premiums.
Children, like adults, can access free healthcare and hospital treatment through the public system. However, Medicare won’t pay for all the healthcare costs your children will incur as they grow up, like physio for broken bones, prescription glasses, remedial massage for sport injuries and much more.
So, adding your little ones to your private health insurance policy might help you save on out-of-pocket expenses and give you greater say over their healthcare too. You can also choose their doctor or specialist (if they’re available) and avoid public hospital waiting lists.
The good news is that most health funds will cover your children at little or no extra cost when upgrading your couples cover to a family policy. In fact, most health funds will cover them under your family plan until they turn 21 or even 25+.
1 Australian Parliament House: Medicare – Background Brief. Accessed June 2022.
2 PrivateHealth.gov.au: What is covered by Medicare? Accessed June 2022.
3 The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority: Quarterly Private Health Insurance Statistics. Membership and benefit statistics. March 2022.
4 Privatehealth.gov.au. Australian Government Private Health Insurance Rebate. Accessed March 2022.