Choosing your health insurance is an important decision. You want to make sure that you have the best cover for your needs and your family’s needs. Here are some things to think about when looking at private health insurance.
- What’s your motivation to purchase private health insurance?
This is an important question for you to ponder. Because it will reveal your underlying feeling about the product.
- Are you in the market just to avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge? Or are you looking for a product that gives you control over the timing and cost of your health care?
- Are you young and healthy or do you have a health condition that requires regular hospital treatment?
- Do you have other family members who will be covered? What are their health care needs?
- What’s your appetite for risk?
If you’re prepared to go with anything less than top quality hospital cover, you run the risk of not being covered for certain hospital treatment when you need it. So you should check carefully what’s included or not included in a given policy and weigh up the risks.
For example, if you’re planning a family, hospital cover that doesn’t include obstetrics is a bigger risk.
- Have you looked at a Members Own Health Fund?
Not-for-profit, member-owned health funds are driven by the desire to protect the health of their members – not make profit for others. Because of this fundamental difference to large for-profit insurers, they deliver better service, give more back in benefits, and have more satisfied members. And there’s audited data that backs up these claims.
- Compare your shortlist at privatehealth.gov.au
The government website, privatehealth.gov.au provides a reputable comparison of different funds. All funds are there – not just the ones that pay commissions to be on commercial comparison sites (commissions which adds to the cost of premiums). There are also impartial statistics which give you an indication of how each fund performs.
- Focus on the cover, not the gimmicks
Look at an insurer’s hospital network – do you have a choice of private hospitals close to where you live? Does the insurer have a ‘gap cover scheme’ (such as Access Gap) to eliminate or reduce your medical expenses? Does the insurer have provider networks (such as dentists and optometrists) which deliver additional member-only benefits? These are the questions that are far more important than whether you’ll get a pair of running shoes when you join.
Private health insurance is a major purchase. Do your homework and make sure you choose a product that is fit for purpose – and that it continues to meet your needs as your lifestyle changes. Peace of mind is just so important when it comes to your health.