How do you know what is the best type of health cover or insurance for you? The world of Private Health Insurance can be a difficult landscape to try to navigate. There are a lot of factors that would need to be considered when choosing the right kind of health insurance to ensure that you are choosing the best type of cover for your circumstances and preferences.

What does Private Health Insurance offer?

Dependent upon the type of policy cover you take out Private Health Insurance is designed to help you cover the costs or expenses where Medicare doesn’t. Private Health Insurance can help you pay for some or all of the costs of:

  1. Treatment in a public or private hospital as a private patient – enabling you to choose the hospital and doctor for any required surgery or treatment, at a time that suits you;
  2. Health services such as physiotherapy, major dental or optical that is not covered under the Medicare scheme (Australia’s public health scheme)

Whilst it is not compulsory for you to have private health cover, if you want more choices and access to additional health services taking out private health cover can provide many benefits.

What are the different types of private health insurance policies are available?

The types of benefits that you would have access to under private health insurance can vary depending upon the type of cover you take out, as well as the products and services that your private health insurer will provide. However, there are some main types of policies available, these include:

  • Hospital – cover to enable treatment within a public or private hospital as a private health patient
  • Extras – cover for the costs of services outside of hospital such as physiotherapy, dental and optical
  • Combined – cover combining both hospital and extras
  • Ambulance – cover for the cost/s of ambulance services

Why should I take out private health insurance?

Predominantly to give you access to more health services which are not covered under Medicare. As per https://beta.health.gov.au/health-topics/private-health-insurance/about-private-health-insurance/what-does-private-health-insurance-offer, there are several important factors in which private health insurance is more beneficial than relying upon Medicare, these include:

  • Cover for more health services (such as physiotherapy, dental) which are not covered under Medicare
  • More choice and shorter waiting periods for required surgeries or treatments. It also allows you to choose which hospital you wish to be treated at, and also your choice of doctor/s
  • Pay less tax – under Australian taxation laws, those who do not have private health cover is charged a Medicare levy surcharge especially if they earn income over a certain level. This is a taxation in addition to the Medicare levy and is up to 1.5% of your taxable income
  • Get private health insurance rebate – depending upon your current circumstances, taking out private health insurance may provide you with a rebate from the Australian Government which may reduce any tax payable to the government.  For more details, please read here: https://www.privatehealth.gov.au/healthinsurance/incentivessurcharges/insurancerebate.htm
  • Avoid paying more when you’re older – taking out private health insurance before the age of 31 can help you to avoid paying higher premiums as you get older. Under the Lifetime Health cover initiative introduced by the Australian Government, it encourages you to take out private hospital cover before a certain age, allowing you to keep it over the course of your lifetime.

The benefits of taking out Private Health Insurance are appealing for some, and it is quite important to take the time to shop around. There are multiple Private Health Insurance providers available, with multiple products on offer.

Consider the new Private Health Insurance reforms that will come into effect from the 1st April 2019 for all Australian individuals. These reforms will change the landscape of Australian Health Insurance (for further details about the reforms that will come into effect from 1st April 2019 click here:

Once you understand the Private Health Policy’s inclusions, determined the most comfortable amount of excess you can afford and its monthly premiums, its time for you to compare the products and policies available under each Health Insurance provider. Making a shortlist of your needs and preferences will enable you to make an informed decision in purchasing the right Private Health Insurance cover for yourself and/or your family.