Private health insurance, is it worth the ever increasing premiums?

Private Health Insurance

I think we can all agree that giving the general public access to free health care would be the dream. No private health insurance to worry about, no premiums to pay. It sounds almost too good to be true! That said, here in Australia we do enjoy a lot more public health care benefits than some other countries. We’ve all heard the shock stories of Americans who can’t get the care they need, even in emergency situations. But, is our current public health system enough?

As it currently stands, less than half of Australians can afford private health cover. However, according to research conducted in 2016/17 by The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), private health care admissions are on the rise. While public hospitals are still responsible for the treatment of more than 60% of patients, Australians are seeking private healthcare more so than ever.

If you’re considering private health insurance, it can be difficult to know what’s what. So, in this article, we’ll explore the difference between public and private health care and help clear up a few misconceptions.

Private vs Public Healthcare – Is It Worth The Cost?

Whichever type of health insurance you choose to cover you, don’t be concerned, there is no right or wrong answer. How much your private health insurance costs all depends on your own circumstances, such as your age, health and marital status. However, with the continual hike in private health insurance costs, many are starting to wonder if it is worth all the money – or worse – if they can afford it!

What Is The Difference Between Public And Private Healthcare?

Private Healthcare

There are two types of private health insurance: hospital and extras cover. Depending on your circumstances you may choose one or both, most policy’s do offer both.

Private hospital covers include any costs from in-hospital treatment, attention you receive from doctors or visits to the operating theatre and your accommodation during your stay.

Most policies will require you to serve a waiting period, these waiting periods can vary between policies and companies but they are generally 12 months.

You should ensure when taking out private health insurance that you investigate your policy and the waiting periods required before signing any contracts.

Extras

The private health insurance system offer’s extra services that are not offered with Medicare.

Services that you can get with extras cover on the private health system include:

  • Dental
  • Chiropractic
  • Physio
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Naturopathy
  • Optometry
  • Podiatry
  • Home nursing
  • Speech therapy

Medicare does not fund any of this, so if you don’t have private health you will have to pay for these services.

Tax Breaks

The government offers tax rebates to those Australians who have health insurance policies.

However, if you do not have a health insurance policy by the time you are 31 the entry premiums increase by 2% each year that you delay with the governments LHL (Lifetime Health Cover) initiative designed to encourage young people to take out private health insurance and continue it throughout their life.

For those who fail to get health cover by July 1 after their 31st birthday can pay up to a maximum of 70% for 10 continuous years.

There is also a Medicare Levy surcharge for singles and couples earning what is considered a high income.

If you earn over $90,000 for an individual and in excess of $180,000 for couples/families and do not have private health insurance you will be required to pay the 2% Medicare levy surcharge if you do not have private health insurance at tax time.

What Is A Private Health Insurance Rebate?

If you are an Australian citizen and you have private health insurance you may be entitled to a rebate for your hospital cover, general treatment and ambulance cover.

This is to help cover the private health insurance cost of premiums and is income tested, you can work out your rebate entitlement by heading to the ATO website.

Private Health Insurance Comparison:

So how much would the average cost of private health insurance be if you were to take out a policy?

We have done some general research so you can compare private health fund differences.

MEDIBANKHCFBUPA
SINGLES$16.37wk To $31.32 for Hospital cover$22.05 wk Basic hospital and extra’s to $30.80wk Mid hospital cover And silver cover extra’s$20.35wk basic hospital and silver extra’s cover.
FAMILIES$37.52wk For core Hospital Cover to $62.63 wk For complete Hospital cover.$44.20 wk basic hospital and bronze extra’s to $61.65 wk for mid Hospital cover with Silver extra’s.From $52.65 wk for budget hos. and bronze extra to $61.25 wk for budget family cover.
COUPLES$32.89 wk For hospital Essentials to $62.63 wk For complete Hospital cover.$44.20 wk basic hospital & bronze extra’s to $61.65 wk for mid hospital and silver Extra’s.$40.70 wk for Hospital cover and extras to $57.00 for hospital cover & extra’s cover With 60% return

Medicare

Medicare is Australia’s public health care system that provides cover across the hospital system and some out of hospital expenses as well. It is funded by you and I at a rate of 2% of our taxable income.

If you have a Medicare card you will receive free treatment at public hospitals. Treatment is received from the following:

  • Australian citizens or permanent residents
  • Those on a working holiday visa
  • Those who have a parent, spouse or child with Australian citizenship or permanent residency
  • New Zealand citizens living in Australia

The government subsidizes other services like medication and some other services such as GP’s, pathology and some x-ray services.

However, Medicare does have some drawbacks, waiting times for non-life threatening medical procedures can be quite extensive and you are quite often unable to choose your Dr. like you would in a private health insurance hospital.

How To Enrol With Medicare

Anyone under the age of 15 will be registered under their parents’ name for Medicare. Once you’ve reached this step in to young adulthood, it is then your responsibility to apply for your own Medicare account. Use this simple step by step guide to register:

Step One: print, complete and sign medicare enrolment form

Step Two: bring form and supported documents to your nearest service centre. Make sure you don’t forget anything!

Step Three: You’ll receive your Medicare number straight away which will give you access to your digital Medicare card by signing into the Express Plus Medicare App. Just a heads up: you will need to have your MyGov credentials in order to set this up.

Step Four: Your physical card should arrive in the post 3-4 weeks after your application is completed.

If you’re looking to register a new baby, as an indigenous person or as a visitor, use the following link to find out how.

Speak To Nifty

If your medical bills or dental bills are currently hurting you more than your injury, get in touch with Nifty Loans for super simple solutions. Our friendly team can offer you a flexible repayment plan that suits you. We’re here to help you find the quick personal loan you need. So, if you’re thinking of having cosmetic surgery, dental care or any other medical attention, we are here to provide easy and affordable service.

Scroll to the top of this page to get started now. You can use our loan calculator to select your preferred repayment plan and the amount you intend to borrow. From there, once your application has been accepted and you’ve signed the contract, it’s only a matter of time until you’ll be getting the awaited treatment you’ve been longing for.

We love hearing from you, so if you have any questions you’d like to ask, don’t hesitate to get in touch. One of our team will get back to you as soon as possible!

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