If you’re thinking about taking out health insurance, you’ve probably asked yourself, ‘Why is it so complicated?!” It can be trying to pick a policy that suits your lifestyle, but the search will be worth it if you go about things the right way.
If there were only 7 things we could tell you about selecting great value health insurance, it would be the following.
1. Find coverage for services you will use, and nothing else!
Health insurance can be a comprehensive product that covers you for virtually every medical expense you may encounter (provided you take out extensive coverage, and a combined policy). Or, it can be a simple product that covers you for a few different services that you will use regularly, and little else. Your circumstances may demand one over the other, but keep in mind that the latter option is significantly cheaper.
In the first instance, ask your doctor for advice on what you need coverage for. Once you’re ready to buy, learn more about saving on your health insurance.
2. Learn how much you can claim, and when.
The allure of health insurance for any Aussie customer will always be ‘free stuff!’, but it’s not that simple a product. In order to stop people from claiming on their policies immediately after signing up, and then cancelling before they pay any premiums (which would drive up premiums for everyone), insurers impose
- waiting periods (i.e. how long you have to wait before you can claim) and
- annual limits (i.e. how much you can claim on any given benefit throughout the year).
Take a good hard look at the policy brochure when/before you sign up, so that you don’t overlook any of these restrictions.
3. Learn how health cover impacts tax.
The Federal Government wants you to take out health insurance, because it eases the burden on the public healthcare system if you’re being treated in a private hospital. Because of this, there are a range of incentives to make sure you sign up to private cover…and some levies imposed on those who don’t.
4. Think about what life stage you’re at
Where you are in life will determine what kind of healthcare you’ll need. Are you fresh out of high school and need your wisdom teeth out? Are you and your partner ready to have kids? These questions will help you figure out what kind of product to purchase.
Let’s use pregnancy as an example. Getting covered for birth-related services (obstetrics) requires you to sit a 12 month waiting period before you can begin claiming. That means you’ll have to find a policy well in advance of having your child.
5. Track down a cheap policy with a few tricks
Aussies love tracking down a good deal for themselves. But this can feel like an uphill battle when it comes to health insurance. However, there are a few things you can tweak when looking at your insurance options to keep the costs down.
- Benefit limitation periods
6. Do you have ambulance cover baked into your policy?
Every Australian should at least have some cover for emergency transport, also known as ambulance cover. Emergency transport can be wildly expensive, and it pays to spend a tiny bit each year to ensure you don’t get hit with any surprise costs. However, you don’t need to take out cover if you live in certain states/territories. Additionally, ambulance cover is included when you take out health insurance in certain regions around Australia. It varies from state to state, and you can find out more by reading our article on ambulance cover.
7. Reassess your cover annually (or, when your situation changes)
Whether it’s a industry wide premium rate rise, or you’re income has gone up a few dollars since last year, re-evaluating your health insurance annually means you’ll always be covered by the best policy for your circumstances.
Additionally, there are hundreds of policies available in Australia. A newer, better health insurance policy could be out there waiting for you!