PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE V’S PUBLIC HEALTH IS IT WORTH THE COST?
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?
There are two types of private health insurance, hospital and extra’s cover. Depending on your circumstances you may choose one or both, most policy’s do offer both.
Most policy’s will require you to serve a waiting period, these waiting periods can vary between policy’s and company’s 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.
Medicare provides cover across the hospital system and some out of hospital expenses as well.
If you have a Medicare card you will receive free treatment at a public hospital.
There are other services subsidized by the government 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.
The private health insurance system offer’s extra’s services that are not offered with Medicare.
Services that you can get with extra’s cover on the private health system:
- Home nursing
- Speech therapy
Medicare does not fund any of this if you don’t have private health you will have to pay for these services.
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 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 private health insurance cost you if you were to take out a policy?
We have done some general research so you can compare private health fund differences.
|SINGLES||From $16.37wk To $31.32 for Hospital cover||From $22.05 wk Basic hospital and extra’s to $30.80wk Mid hospital cover And silver cover extra’s||From $20.35wk basic hospital and silver extra’s cover.|
|FAMILIES||From $37.52wk For core Hospital Cover to $62.63 wk For complete Hospital cover.||From $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||From $32.89 wk For hospital Essentials to $62.63 wk For complete Hospital cover.||From $44.20 wk basic hospital & bronze extra’s to $61.65 wk for mid hospital and silver Extra’s.||From $40.70 wk for Hospital cover and extras to $57.00 for hospital cover & extra’s cover With 60% return|
Therefore, the question of whether it is worth having private health insurance or not comes down to a personal question.
As although the prices do continue to increase the government are offering tax deductions and incentives to offset the burden for customers and encourage individuals, families and couples to take out private health insurance where they can afford it to lessen the burden on the public health system.