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Last Updated on 24 May 2018

Compare Medical Insurance with Your Past Coverage

When it comes time to buy health insurance, you are going to have a lot on your mind. From the price to the coverage, don’t be surprised if you are a bit confused. As stressful as this can be, it is good to know that you are not going through this alone. In other words, there are many other people who are facing the same decisions as you.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to compare health insurance with a greater degree of success. Once you are on the right track, it will be easier to see which policies suit you best.

One of the things you can do is search and compare health insurance based on the type of coverage you have had in the past. By doing this, you will find it much easier to make a final decision on what to buy next.

Did You Like Your Past Policy?

Simply put, you need to decide if you were entirely satisfied with the coverage that you had in the past. If you were, there is nothing wrong with buying a similar health insurance policy in the future. On the other hand, if you find that your past coverage is not what you want for the present, it is time to look at other options.

As you search for a new policy, make sure you have the details of your past coverage in hand. This will make for a fast and efficient comparison process.

How Much Did You Pay in the Past?

It is one thing to find coverage that is better than what you had in the past. It is another thing entirely to choose a health plan that you know you can afford. In a perfect world, you would always be able to find better coverage at a lower price. This may not be the case, but a comprehensive search will help you find out what deals are available.

Make the Necessary Changes

Take a close look at the type of coverage you had in the past. This will give you a better understanding of what you liked, what you did not like, and which changes you can make moving forward.

As you continue to compare your many options, you will slowly narrow down your favourites until you have a small number of policies in mind. Choosing one policy to purchase will be much easier if you’ve already thought all the details through.

Frequently Asked Questions About Health Insurance

There are three types of health insurance in Australia. They are:

  • Hospital Cover
  • Extras Cover (also known as general or ancillary cover)
  • Ambulance Cover

Hospital cover can ensure any unexpected surgeries, treatments or hospital stays you may require will be covered. With appropriate cover you will have the flexibility to choose your own doctor and the option of receiving treatment in a private hospital.  Most hospital covers allow you to stay in a private room. One other perk is skipping the public hospital systems’ waiting list, which can be lengthy for non emergency treatment.

Extras cover pays benefits for a a range of services, often including treatments and procedures related to the fullowing:

  • Dental/oral health
  • Glasses and contact lenses
  • Podiatry
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychulogy
  • Acupuncture
  • Remedial massage
  • Chiropractic
  • Hearing aids
  • Travel vaccinations

Ambulance cover, as the name suggests, will cover you should you require emergency ambulance transport. In an emergency, there is enough to worry about. Having the expenses covered for provides security and peace of mind. Many hospital covers include emergency ambulance transport If yours doesn’t, you will need to shop for this separately.

Life is unpredictable. You never know when you might need cover. No matter what life stage you’re in, there’s a policy out there for everyone. You can select as much or as little cover as you want, depending on your health needs and requirements. It’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind health cover provides.

There is no one answer here. Costs vary across providers and policy types. Just because a policy is cheap, that does not mean it is ‘value for money’ and vise versa. Make sure you check what’s included and excluded in a policy before signing up, as you want to purchase a policy that best fits your specific needs.

Premium: A premium is the price you pay for your insurance policy (it may be paid annually or on an ongoing basis).

Policy: An insurance plan. In other words, it is the type of insurance you choose to select.

Policy Holder: The owner, or ‘holder’ of a policy.

Claim: In the event that you require treatment for a service covered by your policy, you can lodge a claim for reimbursement of all or part of the cost of that treatment.. These days, most claims are submitted electronically by the health care provider (dentist, physio etc)

Lifetime Health Cover: Lifetime Health Cover was put in place to encourage young Australians to seek out and maintain ownership of private health insurance early in their lives. If you do not take out a policy before you turn 31, extra charges will be applied should you take out a policy at a later time.

This means you will pay a 2% loading on top of your premium for every year that passes after you turn 30. For example, if you take out a policy for the first time at age 32, you will be charged 4% of your premium as an extra, then at age 40, 20% and so on, up to a maximum loading of 70%.

The loading is payable for 10 consecutive years of cover - after which it is removed and you premiums will be reduced.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS): Medicare offers assistance for Australians with many of their their prescribed medication costs through the PBS. This assistance is in the form of subsidies towards the cost of many medications. You can check if your prescribed medication is on the list of subsidised items here.

Medicare Levy Surcharge: The Medicare Levy Surcharge is an additional charge (tax) applied to single Australian taxpayers who earn over the income threshold of $90,000 per year, or families/couples who earn over $180,000 per year. This surcharge is only applied to those who choose not to have a private health insurance policy.

The surcharge is designed to reduce pressure on the public health system by encouraging those with higher incomes to invest in private health cover.

Private Health Insurance Rebate: The government’s Private Health Insurance rebate lowers premiums for most Australians with private health insurance Older Australians may enjoy an even higher rebate. Our calculator can help you estimate the Government health insurance rebate you may receive.

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

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