People avoid private health insurance because of the cost. And because they think they’re healthy and they’ll be fine without it.
But the truth is an accident can happen at any time. You might be surprised how long you could be on the public hospital waiting list for the treatment you need. Rather than focus on the premium, look at what your cover can do for you.
Let’s dig a little deeper to show why so many people see value in their hospital cover.
Your health is the return on investment
Think about the cover you need rather than the price you pay. If you have specific health needs, or you’re at an age and stage of life where you could need certain treatment, then that should be your focus.
The public health system is great, but there can be long wait times for non-urgent hospital treatment.
With private hospital insurance, you can avoid the long public hospital waiting times and get the treatment you need almost immediately – plus you can choose the agreement hospital and your doctor. That’s what your premium does for you.
Of course, you might not need comprehensive hospital cover.
Even just extras cover can pay for itself if you get an annual dental check-up, visit the optometrist, get a remedial massage, or have regular physiotherapy.
For example, Defence Health’s Value Extras will set you back around $620 a year (based on a single policy in NSW with a base tier rebate) yet covers up to $900 annually on major dental work, $900 on general and preventive dental, up to $255 for optical, and includes a $900 Flexi-limit to use how you want on the covered services (physio, chiro, pharmacy and more).
Tricks and traps
The best way to get a great return on your investment in private health insurance is to cover yourself with what you need.
With recent reforms that categorise cover as gold, silver, bronze or basic, it’s now much easier to match the policy to your needs. All health funds have started to use consistent language and the same clinical categories within the tiers of cover. They’re allowed to include additional treatment – but each tier must include the standard minimum.
Look closely at the clinical treatment categories and you’ll be able to match a level of cover that suits your needs. It goes without saying, the higher the level of included treatment, the higher the premium will be.
There are also financial incentives to take out private health insurance. The tax man will come for you if you’re a higher income earner and you don’t have private hospital cover. Known as the Medicare Levy Surcharge, it applies extra tax when you complete your tax return. And Lifetime Health Cover makes it more expensive to take out hospital cover later in life – it adds a 2% loading every year after age 30 that you aren’t covered.
The Youth discount is also available on some products – it can reduce the cost of health insurance by up to 10% until aged 41 for people aged between 18 and 29.
Private health is an integral part of our overall health system. These government surcharges and incentives are designed to encourage you to take out health insurance and help take the load off the public system.
A health insurance premium is a small price to pay to take control of your health care.
Great value with Defence Health
You can join if you’re the sibling, partner, ex-partner, child, grandchild or parent of a current serving or former member of the ADF. There’s no limit on how far back the service was. It could be as far back as WW1 or WW2. Even if they joined the Army, Navy, or Air Force after school, spent a year in training then exited to pursue a new career – their descendants are still eligible to join Defence Health.
Current and former employees of the Department of Defence and other Defence-related departments (for example DVA, ASD, DHA and AAFCANS), and their families, can also join Defence Health.