Private Health Insurance: do you need it?
Australia has one of the best healthcare systems in the world and with privatehealth premiums on the rise, many consumers wonder whether the cost is worth it.
If you are asking yourself whether you need private health insurance, the home doctor experts at House Call Doctor have some top tips to consider.
Healthcare in Australia
Australia has a universal healthcare system called Medicare which is available to all and is financed, in part, through a 2% tax on our wages (Medicare levy). Private health insurance can help you pay for hospital and medical costs that are not covered by Medicare. There are a few reasons why people choose to get private health insurance:
- Surgery sooner: patients can have shorter waiting periods for receiving treatment, which can be particularly helpful for elective surgeries that have long waiting times.
- Choice: many consumers believe private health insurance is an enabler of choice, for example many policies allow you to select a preferred doctor or surgeon.
- Private hospital rooms: patients can potentially opt to have a private room when admitted into hospital rather than sharing with other patients.
How to choose a policy?
Firstly, you should know the different types of private health insurance on offer. Generally, there are three types:
- Ambulance cover: this reimburses you for the cost of being transported by ambulance after an emergency.
- Hospital cover: this reimburses you for some or all the costs of being admitted to hospital.
- General treatment (extras) cover: this is for non-emergency medical treatments received outside a hospital or as an outpatient.
When comparing health funds you shouldconsider the exclusions and inclusions, restrictions on how much you can claim each year and waiting periods that may apply for some services.
Despite the benefits, less than half of Australians have private health insurance. This suggests many Australians believe the benefits of private health insurance don’t currently outweigh the disadvantages. Reasons may include; the cost, excluded treatments or out of pocket costs.