Private health insurance comparison can be mind-boggling. There are so many different factors that come into play in the policies themselves, never mind any differences between insurers, that the whole process can seem overwhelming. Furthermore, medical insurance comparison is made even more difficult by persistent myths about health insurance cover that many otherwise well-informed consumers still mistakenly believe.
Before you buy a private health insurance policy, make sure you’re not shortchanging yourself by choosing a policy based on incorrect information. Here are a few of the myths related to health insurance cover:
- 1 Myth 1: “Medicare will pay for everything I’ll ever need.”
- 2 Myth 2: “A good private health insurance policy will cover all my medical costs.”
- 3 Myth 3: “All health insurance policies cover pregnancy care and other vital care.”
- 4 Myth 4: “It’s a good idea to keep premiums down through lots of policy restrictions and exclusions.”
Myth 1: “Medicare will pay for everything I’ll ever need.”
This is arguably the greatest all-too-common myth associated with Medicare and health insurance. Among the long list of medical services that are not normally covered by Medicaid are:
- most dental examinations and treatment,
- most skilled therapeutic treatment, such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, eye therapy, chiropractic services, podiatry or psychology services,
- visual aids such as glasses and contact lenses,
- hearing aids and other audio appliances,
- home nursing care.
Furthermore, Medicare does not pay if you need health care while traveling overseas. If you’re a Medicare-only patient and there’s a chance you could need treatment while travelling in a foreign country, you may want to compare travel insurance to cover overseas medical expenses.
Myth 2: “A good private health insurance policy will cover all my medical costs.”
In fact there are few, if any, policies that cover all medical and hospital treatment at 100%, regardless of how expensive or extensive the policy is. Most policies specify an excess, also known as the “out-of-pocket” expense associated with treatment. Many treatments or conditions are only covered to a stated maximum amount, leaving you responsible for any remaining costs associated.
Furthermore, many health insurance policies follow Medicare guidelines, and will not cover services that are not covered by Medicare. If you’d like to have some of these excluded services covered, look into purchasing “gap” cover, which may cover some of your out-of-pocket expenses as well.
Myth 3: “All health insurance policies cover pregnancy care and other vital care.”
This is another persistent health insurance myth. Not only are health insurers not legally required to cover pregnancy, pregnancy is a commonly restricted or excluded condition in many health insurance policies.
Some of the other conditions commonly restricted or excluded from health insurance policies include:
- Cardiac and cardiac related services,
- Eye procedures and surgeries,
- Assisted reproductive services (infertility treatments and services),
- Joint replacement surgeries (such as hip or knee replacements),
- Rehabilitation and psychiatric treatment,
- Plastic and reconstructive surgery.
Some exclusions and restrictions seem plausible on the surface, until you consider their ramifications; a policy that restricts or excludes plastic and reconstructive surgeries, for instance, may not cover skin grafts after a burn or surgery, or breast reconstruction after breast cancer surgery.
Myth 4: “It’s a good idea to keep premiums down through lots of policy restrictions and exclusions.”
If you’re trying to save money on your health cover, it maybe tempting to choose a policy with extensive restrictions and exclusions in order to get a lower premium. However, the result can be financially devastating should you need cover for a condition that is restricted or excluded. If you want the peace of mind of extensive health insurance coverage, look around for the most inclusive and most relevant policy that you can afford.
If you are not adequately informed about your health insurance options before beginning comparison shopping, the process becomes even more difficult. Knowing some of the most common health insurance myths can help you to be an informed consumer.