Public vs. Private Health Care
Theoretically, public health care is an admirable feat. The goal of Medicare is to provide healthcare services for every Australian. Regardless of income or current health conditions, Medicare is available for all. Yet, Medicare has its share of problems.
Private health care is available for a fee. As with any other type of insurance, you must pay for a private health care plan (some government discounts and rebates may be applicable). Those who can afford private health care purchase these insurance plans in order to cover the various things that Medicare does not.
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The Problem with Public Health Care
Currently, over twenty-three million people live in Australia. Most of these people are considered Australian residents. This means that millions of people are presently using the public Medicare system. In many urban, and some suburban, areas, hospitals have long lines and longer wait times.
Another major drawback with Medicare is that this public health system does not cover all health costs. Ambulances and some health procedures are not covered by Medicare, which, in turn, means that people must pay out-of-pocket for these things.
The Private Insurance Option
Private health insurance is available for anyone who wants to go beyond the public health care system. Those who purchase private health insurance can visit private hospitals and have greater choice as to who treats them and where. While private insurance members must pay premiums, there are many different policies to select from.
Selecting Private or Public or Both
Optimally, purchasing a health insurance policy on top of Medicare is the best option. How much private insurance you need depends on your personal situation. If you think that you will use non-Medicare services frequently, a broader package may appeal. If you only want to purchase private insurance for peace of mind, you may decide to go for a more basic policy.
Sticking with the public Medicare plan is the only option for many Australians. While Medicare will cover your basic healthcare needs, you may want to consider private health care in order to pay for dental (and other) visits, since Medicare does not cover these things. The Australian government is currently offering a rebate on private health insurance, which is determined on age and income grounds. Speaking with various health funds is the best way to find a plan that makes sense.
Disclaimer: The above information is correct and current at the time of publication.
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