Extras cover is the component of health insurance that covers you for out-of-hospital medical care. Also called ‘ancillary’ or ‘general treatment’ cover, it covers all the things that Medicare doesn’t, like dental treatment, optometry, physiotherapy, and more.

It is so greatly desired, that a recent IPSOS survey found that a greater number of Australians have this type of insurance over private hospital cover. Taking out an extras policy is a great way to save on healthcare expenses that take a significant toll on your hip pocket each year. Perhaps you don’t want to pay for dental checkups yourself, or maybe you’re a runner who needs regular physiotherapy appointments. Most Aussies will find at least one feature in an extras policy that they would jump at the chance to utilise.

Like any financial or insurance product, each policy comes with different features and limits. Let’s walk you through the basics.

Popular extras cover

Top level cover will give you lots of extras to choose from, while basic cover may limit you to just a few. Here are some highly sought after extras:

Take it to the (extras) limit!

All extras have a limit on how much you can claim per year (i.e. a certain percentage or dollar amount) for particular treatments.

For example, you can claim a certain amount each year on eye glasses, but eventually you’ll reach a limit on how many pairs you can purchase. This limit will depend which extras policy you took out, and whether you’re on a singles, couples or family policy.

Read your policy brochure to find out what the specific limits are, and make sure you claim as much as you can throughout the year to get the most value from your policy.

Extras waiting periods

You may be wondering what waiting periods you’ll have to sit for your extras. These periods are set by the health fund, unlike hospital benefits which are set by the government.

This may sound like you’re at the mercy of the insurers, but this can actually work in your favour. Health insurers are constantly working to win your business, and have been known to waive general treatment waiting periods at certain times throughout the year. Keep a close eye on the market to catch these deals!

Take a look at some examples of general treatment waiting periods.

What top level extras insurance gets you

Extras policies that cover a large number of features with high limits will obviously command a higher premium. However, based on the number of claims you make on your policy every year, they can actually be very good value for money.

The great thing about extras cover is, while it won’t exempt you from the Medicare Levy Surcharge, it is eligible for the health insurance rebate. With top level cover, you could get a significant amount of your premiums back through this rebate (up to 40%!), depending on your age and income.

To find an extras cover that suits your needs and budget, try our private health insurance comparison tool today.

So, what are you waiting for?

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