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Last Updated on 24 May 2018

The Secret to Effective Health Insurance Comparison: Staying Organised

Navigating the ins and outs of health insurance comparison might seem tricky.  However, there is one tip that really helps to make it all easier.  Follow along to see what being organised can do for you when you compare health cover.

The First Step in Being Organised

You can’t expect to be organised if you just jump into your health insurance comparison and start looking at premiums.  You must know the details of where you currently stand, in your health care needs and your budget, before you can effectively compare policies.

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Take a look at your current policy, if you have one. If not, look at your Medicare coverage and  any expenses that your health care currently costs you.  Find a method that works for you to break down what are, for you, the most vital points of coverage.  Whether you use a spreadsheet, a notebook, or something else to keep your notes, consider the primary aspects of importance in your policy:

  • Basics: Look at the type of policy you have.  Note deductibles, co-pays, and premium.  Consider how much money you spend out-of-pocket on healthcare under your policy, as a baseline for comparison.
  • Coverage Limits: How much is your policy worth in hospital cover? Note any restrictions on these limits, in case you ever require repeated hospital visits or a high-cost hospital treatment.
  • Your Needs Met: Observe the extent of your covered health treatment network, any prescription coverage, and anything else that’s important to you.  For instance, your current plan may include extras such as chiropractic cover.

Health Insurance Comparison

The steps that you take to be organised before you begin will make everything else much easier.  If you do a good job in staying organised, you will be able to compare other health insurance options with relative ease.  Consider the following tips:

  • Differences: When you compare potential health insurance options against what you already have, you will be able to discern the differences between the two.  Thus, you will be able to identify which is stronger or weaker in certain points of coverage.
  • Your Needs Met: Perhaps you’re looking for a particular coverage to meet your health care needs; compare the insurance options available to the way your current insurance does or doesn’t meet that need.

Remain organised when you compare health insurance policies.  Use your current health cover as a starting point, and note down the most vital things to compare.  Once you do this, you can then see which of the policies on offer provide the best value for money in your case. You can also systematically work through other items of interest and add these to your notes, such as the reputation of prospective insurers.

Overall, keeping everything in order will make the process much easier on your.  There are many keys to comparing health insurance – this one can help keep it all in line.

Frequently Asked Questions About Health Insurance

There are three types of health insurance in Australia. They are:

  • Hospital Cover
  • Extras Cover (also known as general or ancillary cover)
  • Ambulance Cover

Hospital cover can ensure any unexpected surgeries, treatments or hospital stays you may require will be covered. With appropriate cover you will have the flexibility to choose your own doctor and the option of receiving treatment in a private hospital.  Most hospital covers allow you to stay in a private room. One other perk is skipping the public hospital systems’ waiting list, which can be lengthy for non emergency treatment.

Extras cover pays benefits for a a range of services, often including treatments and procedures related to the fullowing:

  • Dental/oral health
  • Glasses and contact lenses
  • Podiatry
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychulogy
  • Acupuncture
  • Remedial massage
  • Chiropractic
  • Hearing aids
  • Travel vaccinations

Ambulance cover, as the name suggests, will cover you should you require emergency ambulance transport. In an emergency, there is enough to worry about. Having the expenses covered for provides security and peace of mind. Many hospital covers include emergency ambulance transport If yours doesn’t, you will need to shop for this separately.

Life is unpredictable. You never know when you might need cover. No matter what life stage you’re in, there’s a policy out there for everyone. You can select as much or as little cover as you want, depending on your health needs and requirements. It’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind health cover provides.

There is no one answer here. Costs vary across providers and policy types. Just because a policy is cheap, that does not mean it is ‘value for money’ and vise versa. Make sure you check what’s included and excluded in a policy before signing up, as you want to purchase a policy that best fits your specific needs.

Premium: A premium is the price you pay for your insurance policy (it may be paid annually or on an ongoing basis).

Policy: An insurance plan. In other words, it is the type of insurance you choose to select.

Policy Holder: The owner, or ‘holder’ of a policy.

Claim: In the event that you require treatment for a service covered by your policy, you can lodge a claim for reimbursement of all or part of the cost of that treatment.. These days, most claims are submitted electronically by the health care provider (dentist, physio etc)

Lifetime Health Cover: Lifetime Health Cover was put in place to encourage young Australians to seek out and maintain ownership of private health insurance early in their lives. If you do not take out a policy before you turn 31, extra charges will be applied should you take out a policy at a later time.

This means you will pay a 2% loading on top of your premium for every year that passes after you turn 30. For example, if you take out a policy for the first time at age 32, you will be charged 4% of your premium as an extra, then at age 40, 20% and so on, up to a maximum loading of 70%.

The loading is payable for 10 consecutive years of cover - after which it is removed and you premiums will be reduced.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS): Medicare offers assistance for Australians with many of their their prescribed medication costs through the PBS. This assistance is in the form of subsidies towards the cost of many medications. You can check if your prescribed medication is on the list of subsidised items here.

Medicare Levy Surcharge: The Medicare Levy Surcharge is an additional charge (tax) applied to single Australian taxpayers who earn over the income threshold of $90,000 per year, or families/couples who earn over $180,000 per year. This surcharge is only applied to those who choose not to have a private health insurance policy.

The surcharge is designed to reduce pressure on the public health system by encouraging those with higher incomes to invest in private health cover.

Private Health Insurance Rebate: The government’s Private Health Insurance rebate lowers premiums for most Australians with private health insurance Older Australians may enjoy an even higher rebate. Our calculator can help you estimate the Government health insurance rebate you may receive.

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

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