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Medical Insurance Comparison: Restricted Funds

July 28th, 2013 0 comments
Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/tony_martin_nt/

If you’re doing a private health insurance comparison and checking out products, it’s highly likely that you’ve come upon restricted funds. While not as prevalent as the usual health plans offered by major insurance providers, restricted funds have been known to provide quality coverage at competitive rates.

Just what exactly are restricted funds?

Restricted funds are private health funds too. The only difference is that these are mutual funds. This means they are owned and managed by their respective members as opposed to for-profit funds which are held and run by their owners and/or shareholders.

Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/tony_martin_nt/

Are restricted funds accessible to everyone?

Restricted funds are for members only. To be eligible, you must belong to a specific trade or group. The transportation, education, banking, medicine, and forestry, timber and paper manufacturing are just some of the industries currently serviced by these funds. Folks who are members of specific religious organisations, and those in the police as well as the Australian Defence Forces may avail of these special private health funds too.

How do I know if I am eligible to join?

Restricted funds normally accept folks who are currently serving or have worked in or with any of the relevant industries for a specified length of time. Some providers of these policies even extend coverage to a qualified individual’s next of kin. A quick call to the relevant insurer should help determine your eligibility.

What types of plans are offered?

As was mentioned, restricted funds are private health funds too. This means you’ll also find the same health insurance packages such as hospital, extras, and combined policies that are being offered by for-profit insurers. The usual basic, medium, and premium coverage levels are offered as well.

I currently have a policy in place. Can I readily switch to a restricted fund?

Yes, this is possible. However, you need to acquaint yourself as to the waiting periods imposed by the fund you’d like to transfer to. This is particularly crucial if you’re looking to upgrade your coverage. But if you’re switching to a similar cover offering similar benefits, serving the waiting periods again may no longer be necessary.

How do I find the most reasonably priced restricted fund?

Restricted fund providers have been known to offer cheap health insurance. But just as with buying any type of insurance product, you need to compare health funds that are offered by these for-member institutions. This will ensure you get the package that answers your needs without necessarily breaking your bank. To expedite the medical insurance comparison process, determine which funds you can join first and compare their packages accordingly afterwards.

Are restricted funds affected by the new means testing system as well?

Yes, restricted fund members have to adhere to the changes to the private health insurance rebate and Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) schemes. Starting 1 July 2012, folks who expect to receive incomes higher than the set threshold will get lesser rebates. Higher-income Australians who do not take out private hospital cover with specific deductibles before said date will need to pay the MLS as well.

Restricted funds normally offer lifetime memberships. This means you can always continue said fund even if you’re transferring to an unrelated industry or profession. Similarly, you can terminate your plan and re-join the fund again at any time you wish.

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