Choosing private health insurance can feel like a complicated process. Indeed, it may seem challenging to know which products will provide the greatest benefits.
But it doesn’t have to be!
With some research and planning, you’ll usually be able to select cover that works for you. We’d like to help, so we’ve listed seven essential tips to assist you in finding insurance.
Keep an eye out; the end of our guide reveals our last, best tip.
There’s no one-size-fits-all product when it comes to private health insurance, so it’s essential to find a policy that offers services you’ll use, or think you may require.
The introduction of the four-tiered health insurance categories has made it easier than ever before to know which treatments and services are offered by each private hospital insurance policy, as well as what may be excluded. You may find that services you believe you’ll rely on are included in Bronze or Basic levels of cover, which could be significantly cheaper than higher-tiered products.
Gold and Silver products are the more comprehensive options and may be something you select if you want peace of mind in more circumstances. You also have the option of a combined policy, which includes both hospital and extras cover (for out-of-hospital medical care).
You should also take the time to assess your extras cover properly. While extras can be beneficial if you use them (e.g. dental check-ups, physiotherapy appointments), you could be wasting cash if you’re covered for services you have no use for (e.g. podiatry, in the event you have no issues with your feet).
An excellent place to start is to talk with your doctor to discuss what services you should consider cover for.
If you’re taking out private health insurance for the first time or upgrading from a lower level of cover to something more comprehensive, you’ll be subject to waiting periods. This is 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).
Both extras and hospital policies are subject to waiting periods, so consider this when choosing a health insurance product. These are:
You’ll also need to enquire about any annual limits your policy may be subject to. You can only claim up to a certain amount for each service, which resets every 12 months.
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 several incentives to entice you to sign up for private cover.
Conversely, there are also levies imposed on some who don’t have appropriate levels of cover.
Where you are in life will determine which kind of health insurance may be the most appropriate for your needs.
Here are some questions you may ask which could help you determine which policy you choose.
Private health insurance is all giving yourself more options for treatment when you need them. As such, you’ll have to ask yourself these questions again in the future to make sure your cover still makes sense.
You can usually tweak aspects of your private health insurance to make your insurance premium more affordable. Consider the following:
Did you know that ambulances aren’t free in all Australian states and territories? While the Queensland and Tasmanian state governments cover residents in these states, Australians elsewhere will require this specific cover to avoid footing the whole bill.
This means you could be left with some hefty out-of-pocket expenses if you require an ambulance but don’t have ambulance cover. This is another thing to think about when choosing health insurance. Keep in mind though that ambulance cover may have to be taken out separately to private health cover.
Whether it’s an industry-wide premium rate rise or your insurer wants to charge you even more for a policy, it’s always a good idea to reassess your cover. In addition to making sure your existing policy still covers services you may require, it’s an opportunity to assess whether you could pay less for the same product elsewhere.
This can be achieved through research or using useful tools like our health insurance comparison tool. It allows you to compare policies, extras, benefits and costs from a variety of providers in one convenient location. It’s simple to use, free and takes just minutes to reach a result.
Curious how private health insurance compares to Medicare? Learn more about the difference between the public and private health system with our guide.