Last Updated on 13 February 2020

What’s In It For Me? The Benefits of Private Health Insurance

Private health insurance has become increasingly popular in recent years. It gives an individual or his or her family access to the private healthcare system in Australia. Through the payment of premiums, private healthcare insurance will cover most, if not all, of the costs incurred during the course of treatment at private or public facilities.

Key Points
  • There are three types of private health insurance available in Australia: hospital, ambulance and general (or extras) cover
  • Hospital cover provides peace of mind that you’ll be covered for in-hospital services, treatments and accommodation. In some cases, a hospital policy can even save you money in taxes.
  • Extras cover can provide policyholders with rebates for services that they use regularly such as optical, dental, physio and more.

A Growing Sector that Caters to Many

The private healthcare segment has grown by leaps and bounds over the years and now provides for approximately a third of Australia’s healthcare needs. It is evident that public-funded health schemes like Medicare are deficient in some regards and it is the private health system which helps fill in the gaps.

Anytime, Anywhere and For Everyone

Private health insurance offers protection for any health issues that may crop up out of the blue (like breaking a hip while dancing) or routines ones that you will come to expect (like a trip to the optometrist or dentist). Different policies from different health funds allow you to choose the level of health cover that is most appropriate for the following:

  • Lifestyle
  • Age
  • Needs

To add to the appeal of a private health fund, premiums have become more affordable and are not calculated based on your medical health, history or age.

No Time to Spare!

Without private health insurance, you would have to rely on the services provided by the public health system. More often than not, this involves a long waiting period. With private healthcare, you will receive treatment at a hospital and from a doctor of your choice with significantly reduced waiting times. There is much greater flexibility in determining how you receive treatment, when you receive it and from whom.

Public Hospital Waiting List Calculator

Our Public Hospital Waiting List Calculator gives you an idea of how long you'll need to wait to have a procedure done through the public healthcare system. Data is sourced from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Admissions The number of people admitted to hospital for Cystoscopy in QLD in 2013. 4855
Days waited at 50th percentile The 'median' number of days waited for this procedure to be carried out. In other words, out of 100 people, 50 people will wait more days for this procedure, and 50 people will wait fewer days. 23
Days waited at 90th percentile 90% of people will have their procedure complete in this number of days or fewer. 98
Per cent waited more than 365 days The percentage of people waiting over a year for their procedure. 0.9

Shorter Waiting Times Garnished with Extras

In addition to covering the cost of general treatment at both public and private hospitals, private health insurance also covers ancillary services (or ‘extras), examples of which include the following:

  • Chiropractic treatment
  • Physiotherapy
  • Osteopathy
  • Dental treatment

Dental treatment is fairly extensive, and can comprise coverage for general and major dental along with endodontics and orthodontics. Acupuncture, remedial massage and naturopathy – typically unconventional forms of treatment are covered as well. Some of the other ‘extras’ include the use and services of ambulances and medical paraphernalia specific to a patient’s condition – like hearing aids and glucose monitors, just to name a few.

Look Forward to Tax Reprieves

Recognizing the fundamental role that the private healthcare system plays in the provision of healthcare, the government has reformed the tax structure in recent years to make private health insurance a more attractive option to all. Health insurance rebates on premiums are now up for grabs, with rebates of up to 30% for the general populace. Older Australians stand to benefit from even higher rebates – 35% for seniors aged 65 and above and 40% for those aged above 70.

There are many compelling reasons why private healthcare insurance has become a modern day necessity for the majority of Australians. There is no doubt that the public health care system provides quality service and fulfills the general needs of most citizens – but it does have its downsides.

Private health insurance can be tailored specifically to your circumstances and that of your family. Its coverage is far more extensive than that of Medicare and its waiting periods are shorter too. Factor in such benefits as tax breaks and what you have is a scheme that does not merely supplement public healthcare provision but even surpasses it.


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