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The 5 life stages of private health insurance
Over the course of our lives, our needs, priorities, and finances change as we grow older. These factors can be used to characterise different life stages, and your private health insurance needs to change to suit these stages.
What life stage are you in?
After speaking to tens of thousands of customers, we determined five key life stages that reflect changing needs in health insurance. Many people who do not review their health insurance regularly might not have the right policy for their stage of life.
It’s important to know these life stages of human development and how your health insurance needs to change so you’re correctly covered when you’re a young single, a couple, part of a family, an empty nester, and a retiree.
This is the first life stage where someone will consider health insurance, especially if they’re no longer covered by a family policy. Health insurance allows you to be covered for your optical, dental, and physiotherapy treatment, depending on your needs.
One of the big benefits to young single people looking into private health insurance are the financial incentives provided by the government, such as avoiding the Medicare levy , receiving a government rebate, and avoiding Lifetime Healthcare Cover (LHC) loading.
The Medicare levy surcharge (MLS) is paid by Australian taxpayers who don’t have an appropriate level of private hospital insurance, and who have an income above a certain amount. The base income threshold, which excludes you from paying the MLS if you’re under it, is $90,000 for singles and $180,000 for families.
From the start of the first financial year after you turn 31, LHC loading adds an extra 2% to your health insurance bill. This if for every year you don’t take out a private health insurance policy. For example, if you take out hospital cover for the first time at 40, you might be paying 20% more on your premiums than if you had taken it out when you were 31.
Couples are often in the life stage of planning for a future together. Financially, this could mean exploring the same benefits as those who take up private health insurance as young singles. It also means planning for a future family by making sure their health insurance contains benefits for pregnancy.
Raising a family is a rewarding life stage, but it can also be challenging and stressful. As families start to grow, many parents want the highest quality health coverage for their loved ones. Peace of mind when children fall ill, pregnancy cover, or a family member developing a chronic illness are all key reasons to make sure the family has private cover. Greater flexibility in choosing a doctor, access to private hospital rooms, and avoiding waiting lists for important elective surgeries all provide comfort for growing families.
When our kids have grown up and are starting to move out, we enter the empty nester life stage. At this point, the golden years set in and private healthcare can be extremely beneficial. People in this stage are also more likely to need eye surgery or hip and knee replacements. Finally, just because the children have moved out, that doesn’t mean they don’t need cover. Some parents choose to cover adult children while they study, if their private insurance allows.
After our working years are over, most people settle into retirement and in this life stage, as their lifestyle continues to change, could need more expensive medical treatments and medications. Those who maintain private health insurance through the end of their life could be more likely to use it to ensure the highest quality in their health, and to get the best treatment they need to live as long as they can.
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