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Last Updated on 24 February 2019

Over 50? How to Find The Right Health Cover for Changing Needs

As we age, our health needs change, too. While little children are often at the doctor’s office for ear infections and strep, young adults are rarely in need of medical care. As we get older though, health problems can develop, and as some people age, their health can begin to deteriorate. Taking care of our bodies through proper nutrition and exercise is the best strategy to ward off health issues, and the next tool in your arsenal is good health care.

Medicare for Seniors

Medicare takes care of the basic health needs of any Australian citizen over the age of fifty, just as it cares for citizens of any age. However, with Medicare, options are limited. Since the medical needs of seniors may be greater than those of others in the population, private health insurance is an option those age fifty and above may want to learn more about.

Seniors may require more operations, more prescription medications and more ancillary services. With Medicare, you will be restricted as to which hospitals you can use for an operation and which doctor you can see. You may also be covered for certain medications and other services. Some services are not covered at all.

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

If you don’t have a pension, you can apply for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. This card is designed for individuals over age 50 who do not qualify for a pension and have certain maximum income levels. This card helps with prescription medications and some services.

Private Health Insurance for Seniors

For those that are looking for something extra, a private health insurance comparison can help you understand the differences between private health funds and what they can each offer you. While every fund sets out to offer you better options for care, each fund has its own premiums and service cover options. If you require extra services due to advanced age, or if you are simply anticipating the possibility, taking a private health insurance policy may help to offset the extra charges you may encounter.

Private insurance covers several services in greater need by the senior community that are not covered by Medicare, including:

  • Home Nursing
  • Contact Lenses and glasses
  • Ambulance
  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Podiatry

Private Health Insurance Rebate

One important development is government reimbursement for private health insurance. The government encourages people to take out private health insurance and therefore offers a Private Health Insurance Rebate to people who choose to do so. For any private health fund, the government will reimburse you for some of the cost of the policy.

For seniors, that percentage increases. This higher government reimbursement rate for seniors should help offset premiums and make it more affordable for seniors, who may not be bringing in any other income other than a pension, to take out private health insurance policies. Those who do bring in more income can still take advantage of the reimbursement rate for their private health insurance.

Pre-Existing Conditions

If you have a pre-existing condition, you may have to wait up to 12 months before private cover kicks in. Compare private health insurance funds to evaluate their waiting periods. No health fund, however, can refuse anyone based on age or pre-existing conditions.

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

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

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