Last Updated on 12 February 2020

Learn More About Your Health Insurance Choices

Australians are fortunate to have a medical system that covers all citizens, so that no one is denied the medical care he needs. However, as much as Medicare is a wonderful benefit for citizens who need it, there are alternatives for people who are interested in higher level medical care, with additional services and many more options.

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Private Health Insurance

People who are looking for excellent medical care have the option to go beyond Medicare and purchase private health insurance. It costs a bit of money, but there are ways to save if you need to, and many people consider it a crucial outlay to ensure their family’s health and security. Private health insurance gives you access to many benefits beyond the Medicare system, including your choice of excellent physicians, extra services, and short waiting times. Plus, the government provides rebates for those who purchase it as an incentive for more citizens to do so.

Private Health Funds

When you choose to purchase private insurance, you do so through private funds. In this system, you evaluate the many different funds available and pay the fund privately to receive your benefits. Most funds are open to anyone in the general public, although there are some that are geared to different populations, such as young families or the elderly. Certain people may also be able to apply for funds which offer them savings, such as teenagers.

Hospital Cover, General Treatment, or Combined

Within the private system, there are several choices. Hospital cover is the main component, covering hospital stays and treatments, such as surgery and psychiatric care.

General treatment plans cover out of hospital procedures and services such as dental, optical and chiropractic.

All choices come in a range of choices from broad coverage to a narrower set of services, so people can get just what they need in a plan. Most funds these days also allow you to pick and choose the services you need, so you don’t pay for services you won’t use. For example, a fund may allow you to choose the three treatment areas of your choice to tailor a medium range policy that fits your personal needs.

Consumers have the option to choose one or both of these options. While combined cover is the obvious choice for those who want comprehensive medical care, some recommend purchasing separate hospital and general treatment plans to get the most complete policies. When purchased separately, private policies may offer more comprehensive cover for all of your medical needs. Compare private health funds separately and combined to see where you get the greatest value.

Other considerations

In addition to categories for broad and narrow ranges of treatment options, there are plans for singles, couples, families, seniors and teenagers. Check out all available options that pertain to you, as you may be able to get significant discounts if you find a fund targeted toward you.

Restricted funds

There are fund groups that were created to meet the needs of specific professional criteria. These are often the most competitively priced, but they are exclusive to certain professions. If you can get in, it is worth a comparison to other private funds.


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