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How To Find Suitable Health Insurance

Private health insurance gives you peace of mind and more flexibility with your healthcare. Having appropriate coverage can safeguard you and your loved ones against some of the costs of medical treatments in the private hospital system.
nurse comforting woman

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I need cover for…

While there can be out of pocket costs in addition to the MBS when admitted privately to hospital, without hospital cover, you run the risk of having to pay further costs in the event you need to use the private hospital system.

When choosing health insurance it can be important that your choices reflect your budget, needs, and your general lifestyle.

Considering your individual needs

Everyone is different, which can make choosing appropriate insurance coverage overwhelming for you. If you’re wondering how to pick a suitable health insurance plan, you can start by looking closely at your unique needs.

Whether you’re a couple planning a pregnancy, a student who’s active and healthy, or you’re getting older and in need of regular medical attention, you need to consider that budget, age, lifestyle, and relationship status can all play a part in the decision-making process.

They’re all important factors when it comes to thinking about ambulance cover, extras cover and hospital cover, and purchasing personal health insurance.

Understanding your life stage

For Australians keen to take a proactive approach to their health care, private health insurance offers more flexibility and security, which in turn can allow you to live a fuller life.

Let’s say you’re a keen runner and you’ve just signed up to your first fun run marathon. While a well-considered training plan is key, pounding the pavement week after week can take a toll on your body. It’s no surprise then that the option of taking out extras cover, which can include physiotherapy and podiatry, could help you cross the finish line without injuries.

different stages of private healthcare graphic

Let’s consider the main life stages in private health insurance

Please note that the names and people mentioned below are fictional characters.

I’m young and single

Sarah (25) is an advertising creative. She purchased her own cover when she turned 25 as she was no longer covered by her parent’s health insurance once she stopped studying full time. She spends her spare time trail walking and trekking with her friends. She’s always been physically active but knows she needs to be careful during some of the more dangerous trips. After reviewing medical insurance plans for individuals, Sarah has taken out basic level health coverage to help her afford some of the potential out of pocket costs if an unfortunate accident occurs and she wishes to be treated privately.

We’re a couple

Ready to take the next step in their relationship, Lisa (29) and Pete (31) recently purchased an inner-city two-bedroom apartment. They both work full-time, and enjoy evenings at home or dining with friends. While they share similar interests and needs, Lisa and Pete are also keen to grow their family. They’ve agreed to take out cover as part of a couples health insurance policy which covers them for obstetrics so they can chose their obstetrician  and get a private room if available, and extras to help with things like physio throughout the pregnancy.

I have a family

Looking after three kids under 15 can be a handful at the best of times. If Paul (49) and Jackie (46) aren’t driving their youngest daughter to her weekly gymnastics classes, they’re accompanying their son to the optometrist, or paying for braces for their eldest. Thankfully, their family cover helps with some of the cost for the orthodontics and also offers free preventative dental for kids at participating providers. Things sure are busy in the Jackson household, but with comprehensive cover Paul and Jackie ensure their family have access to the treatments they need.

I’m getting older

After their kids moved out, Liz (74) and Trevor (77) relocated to a small terrace house where they didn’t have to worry about stairs. These days, Trevor’s arthritis is causing him a bit of pain, and since Liz had her hip replacement they’ve found it more and more difficult to manage their own medical care. Thanks to their couples comprehensive cover with ambulance cover included, the pair have access to medical services whenever they need it rather than waiting in the public system.

Key factors

Considering your life stage when choosing health insurance can help you maximise the value you receive for services and treatments that you, or your family, need.

Buying health insurance: a timeline

Please note that the graphic below, and the use of the “age 31” is only in relation to the Lifetime Health Cover loading (LHC).

Buying health insurance orange graphic

Choosing health insurance and purchasing a policy before you turn 31 will ensure you don’t have to pay extra loading if you require hospital cover later on in life.

If you consider choosing hospital cover  later in life (any time after your 31st birthday), you will have a 2% premium loading that increases annually by 2% for every year you don’t have private hospital cover, it caps out at 70%. This loading is added to your premium if you purchase private hospital cover, it’s removed once you’ve had hospital cover for 10 consecutive years, and you never have to pay it again as long as you continue to keep your private health hospital cover. See privatehealth.gov.au for more details.

If you want to be covered for obstetrics (pregnancy and birth-related services) in a private hospital and with a private obstetrician, the total waiting period to be covered is 12 months.

Based on their income some Australian’s may be eligible to receive a rebate from the Australian Government to help make cover more affordable. Those on a taxable income of under $140,000 as a single, or $280,000 as a family, are eligible for a government rebate on health insurance, depending on your age and income level.

Everyone’s situation is different, so being able to choose a suitable level of private health cover to fit your lifestyle and budget is key.

Time to review

Choosing health insurance shouldn’t be hard. Discuss your specific needs with iSelect’s friendly consultants and they’ll help you find a policy to suit your needs. Just call 13 19 20 today.

Alternatively, you can search online with iSelect to compare your profile against policies from our participating health funds.

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