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Australian Health Insurance: What Are the Options?

Diana Bui August 4th, 2013 0 comments

Australia has one of the most efficiently functioning health insurance systems in the world. Every resident can have access to public health services. Everyone has the option to take out private health insurance as well. Those who will do so can count on relatively uniform premiums thanks to Australia’s community rating system. Given these diverse choices, selecting an insurance package can sometimes be challenging. To know more about your options, read on.

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Public Health Care

Australians are afforded equitable access to public healthcare via Medicare. This means free use of select medical and health services offered by public healthcare institutions. There’s the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) as well and helps guarantee lower prices for some of the most commonly prescribed medicines.

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Private Health Insurance

Medicare doesn’t cover everything and people who require periodic or continued medical attention may find the benefits being offered by the public healthcare system limiting. Fortunately, you can always turn to private health funds to address your needs. Some points to consider are:

Type of Fund

There are two types of private health funds in Australia. There are the usual policies being offered by for-profit insurers. There are for-member policies too called restricted funds and these are offered by not-for-profit insurers. With the latter, you will usually need to belong to a specific trade or group to be eligible to take out a fund.

Type of Coverage

If you’ve already performed a health insurance comparison online, then you probably already know that there are three coverage types to choose from.

If you want to make sure some of the costs, as well as a percentage of the doctor’s fees, are taken care of should you happen to be admitted as a private patient in a private or public hospital, you might find the private hospital cover relevant.

If, on the other hand, you’d like to frequently access health services provided by dentists, optometrists, physiologists, podiatrists, and even alternative medicine practitioners, obtaining Eextras or general treatment cover may be helpful.

If however, you’d like to make sure you can access both hospital and general treatment services any time you need it, then considering a combined policy may be worthwhile.

Insurers offer useful add-ons as well. Ambulance cover provides access to ambulance services, which can be extremely expensive otherwise. Pharmaceutical cover, meanwhile, ensures that you’ll pay less for specific costly medicines, especially if the ones you frequently require are those that are not listed under the PBS.

Coverage Levels

The coverage levels you choose will determine which services will only be partially covered and which ones won’t be covered at all. Of course, the higher the level you choose for your private health insurance, the lesser the restrictions and exclusions will be. Most folks obtain quotes online in the hopes of finding cheap health insurance. It’s true the coverage you choose should be something which you can comfortably pay for periodically. But it’s also crucial that the policy you select provides for all the services you will need. This way, should you happen to require them, you won’t have to take care of substantial out of pocket expense. The best way you to find a fund which satisfies these considerations for comprehensive cover and reasonable rates would be through a thorough medical insurance comparison.

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Disclaimer: The above information is correct and current at the time of publication.

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