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Private Health Insurance: Why You Need It

Sally Aquire May 13th, 2011 0 comments
Private hospital

Many people assume that Medicare will cover them for all eventualities and see no need for private health insurance, especially if they don’t fall ill very often. This is something of a myth as Medicare isn’t as extensive as many people assume, and you might not be able to fund our healthcare costs if you don’t have private health insurance to fall back on.

Image by Stefan Dotti

Still not convinced that taking out private healthcare cover is the right idea? Here are more reasons why you shouldn’t rely on Medicare alone to cover your healthcare needs.

The Benefits of Private Health Insurance

You’ve got more control over your treatment options

Private health insurance offers greater choice regarding who treats you, whether you’re treated in a public or private hospital and when you receive treatment.

It covers things that are excluded on Medicare

Not everything is included on Medicare, so you’ll usually need private health insurance to cover dental, optical and ambulance costs. Private health insurance can also cover you for physiotherapy, chiropractor and podiatry treatments (amongst others), which aren’t available on Medicare.

Shorter waiting times

Because you don’t need to pay to access Medicare benefits, there can be long waiting times attached. Even though Medicare entitles you to free emergency hospital treatment, there might not be a bed available for you straight away. With private health insurance, you’re not restricted to receiving treatment in a public hospital so there is less chance that you’ll be facing a long delay before you can be treated.

Lifetime Health Cover benefits

If you take out hospital cover with a private health insurance provider before you hit thirty-one, you can reap the benefits of Lifetime Health Cover. This is designed to entice younger people to take out private health insurance hospital cover for the first time and enables you to ‘lock in’ lower premiums if you sign up before your 31st birthday. If you opt to take out hospital cover after the age of thirty-one, there will be a two per cent loading added onto your premiums for every year that you’ve delayed (which is in place for ten years) so you’re best to sign up as soon as possible to limit this add-on .

You may consider yourself to be a perfectly healthy individual who doesn’t need the expense of private health insurance, but you never know when an unfortunate illness or accident may occur and change that. If you’re reliant on Medicare alone, you can’t guarantee that a bed in a public hospital will be available as soon as you need it, which can result in an unwelcome delay before you’re actually treated. While private health insurance may seem like an unnecessary expense on paper, it provides benefits that go far beyond Medicare and gives you greater control over your healthcare.  This piece of mind can be invaluable if you find yourself needing treatment that isn’t covered by Medicare and which would otherwise result in out-of-pocket expenses that could be costly.

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