GUIDES & RESOURCES

Is there a 'best health insurance'? Tips for finding a suitable policy.

Unfortunately there is no ‘best’ or ‘one size fits all’ policy, as a suitable policy for you can depend on a range of factors. That said, here’s a range of tips and factors to considering when comparing policies.
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As an Australian resident, you should have public health coverage via Medicare. So why would you take out private health insurance? For starters, private hospital cover gives you choice - whether it’s your preferred local private hospital, the ability to use a recommended surgeon, and the potential to reduce many waiting times for elective surgery.

In addition, there are a number of government initiatives designed to encourage people to take out private cover, to help reduce pressure on the public hospital system.

Before you decide on a provider, though, remember that there’s no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” policy. It’s vital to shop around for the mix of cover and price that suits you. To help you decide, let’s give hospital and extras cover a thorough check-up.

How do I get started?

Like anything unfamiliar, choosing private health insurance can seem daunting. Having a friendly team on your side to guide you through the process can make all the difference. With our help, for example, you’ll be able to navigate a range of policies from our range of policies and providers. Here are some questions to keep in mind as you get your search started.

What is your age and stage?

It’s hardly a surprise to say that we’re all different. But this statement of the obvious is critical because what makes for a suitable health insurance policy is different for each of us. That means finding a policy that suits you, and provides the level of cover you want, means sitting down and giving some serious thought to where you are now, and where you’re likely to be in the future. Some examples:

Turning 31?

Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) is a 2% loading that is applied to hospital policies from July 1 following your 31st birthday. And it increases by 2% annually if you don’t have private hospital cover. That means if you put off getting hospital cover until you're 40, you'll pay an extra 18%! To avoid the LHC, you might consider basic cover with lower premiums. (You can always upgrade later, subject to applicable waiting periods)

Planning on kids?

Once you start planning a family, it’s definitely time to start considering private health insurance. But don’t wait until your test comes back positive; most policies have a 12 months waiting period before you can claim pregnancy-related benefits.

Raising kids

Many people don’t realise that some of the simpler surgeries often required for children, such as tonsil removal or putting grommets in. In some cases these surgeries can come with significant waiting times in the public system, even for young children.

Growing older?

Your health needs are going to change as you age…no surprises there. And reflecting on this, your health cover should change, too. It might be as simple as switching from a family policy to something with less coverage on things you don’t use, like swimming lessons, once your kids are off your hands. Or maybe you need to up your cover for services like heart and joints.

So, take some time to reflect on what you’re looking for, and consider your lifestyle as it is right now. As for your future, take your best guess but always remember that life is full of surprises and not always pleasant ones.

What's important to you?

One of the great benefits of private health insurance is that most policies offer choice, including the option of a private room (when one is available) if you’re admitted to hospital for a planned procedure. But policies can differ on whether you get to choose your provider (e.g. your existing , dentist, physio or specialist), or you’re tied to using providers approved by your health fund to get the maximum rebate  This step is vital: know exactly what you want from your policy! If keeping your existing  provider is important to you, don’t compromise. Keep comparing until you find the most suitable health insurance policy for you, one that offers the kind of flexibility you demand.

What’s your budget?

It seems to make sense that you can't put a price on the peace of mind that health insurance brings, right? Wrong, unfortunately. Paying for a deluxe policy that's beyond your means may not do you any favours (and could lead to insomnia and ulcers, to boot!).

So as you start your search for a policy, begin with a comparison of the type of cover you'd like to have, and get a sense of what kinds of costs you're up for. See how these costs fit into your budget, and if you need to adjust your expectations on your policy, or make more room in your budget for the things that matter most.

If it makes financial sense for you to have the cover, don’t waste the opportunity. Make the most of it with a private health policy that suits your needs. Even if your goal is the cheapest health insurance you can find, it’s still important to compare the fine print, and make sure you’re not paying for a worthless policy that won’t have your back when you need it.

When you’re comfortable knowing what you can spend, start comparing again and get serious about your choice.

How do I compare policies?

Now’s the time to start your search in earnest. Get in touch with us and we’ll get cracking to compare policies from our range of policies and providers.

And even if you already have existing health insurance cover, it's a good idea to give your policy a check-up to make sure it still reflects your needs and budget. Benefits may tick over at the end of the calendar or financial year on most policies, so it can be an excellent time to see what you’ve used, what you haven’t, and think about what’s happening in the year ahead. A little effort on your part could lead to a much better result.

What now?

At iSelect, we make it easy to compare health insurance policies, and we’ll work to find a suitable policy for you from our range of policies and providers. After all, finding appropriate cover to meet your needs isn’t easy. That’s why our health insurance consultants are on-hand and ready to answer your questions. Start comparing or call our team today on 13 19 20.

Last updated: 4/03/2021

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