GUIDES & RESOURCES

Health Insurance for Seniors

Often the older we get, the more we focus on our healthcare and the quality of treatment we receive. Keep reading to learn more about health insurance for seniors in Australia.
older couple with bills in kitchen

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Aside from the obvious, that as you get older you’re more likely to need a few more trips to the doctor, there’s also the Lifetime Health Cover Loading to consider.

From the start of the first financial year after you turn 31, Lifetime Health Cover loading adds an extra 2% to your health insurance bill for every year you don’t take out a private health insurance policy, to a cap of 70%. If you haven’t thought about health insurance or you haven’t checked your cover in a while, now’s the time to look into it. Especially when we’re here to help!

What are the different kinds of health insurance policies for seniors?

Almost all private insurance plans fall into three different categories – hospital cover, extras cover, or a combination of both. Private health insurance plans for people over 60 are no different. What is different, is the stage of life that you’re in. Singles in their early 20’s, families, and people heading into retirement can all have different needs. That’s why it’s important to consider what type of cover you want now and in the future. Once you have an idea of your needs, we can help you find a suitable health insurance policy for your lifestyle and requirements from our range of providers*.

Hospital Cover:

There are four tiers when it comes to hospital cover - Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic. Depending on the level of cover, hospital cover can offer choice of doctor/surgeon and potentially help cover you for a wide range of private in hospital treatments, such as:

  • Ambulance
  • Intensive care fees
  • Medication (related to in hospital treatment)
  • Treatments for stroke
  • Eye surgery (non-cosmetic)
  • Fees for the operating theatre
  • Prosthetics (hip, limb and joint replacements etc.)

Extras cover:

Extras cover, on the other hand, can help cover services that happen outside of the hospital and are not covered by Medicare. Depending on your policy, these might include:

  • Dental treatment
  • Visits to the chiropractor or physiotherapist
  • Podiatry
  • Medical aids such as hearing aids
  • Occupational therapy
  • Optical
  • Prescription medication not covered by the PBS

What isn’t covered by health insurance as a senior?

As with any type of insurance policy, it’s just as important to check what you are covered for as it is to check what you’re not covered for. Hospital insurance can help out seniors when it comes to treatments inside the hospital. Extras cover may help subsidise treatments not covered by Medicare. Private hospital policies, however, don’t offer support when it comes to services that aren’t listed under the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS). Policies will have different limits and exclusions and every policy is different so make sure you take a close look at the T&C’s before you sign up.

How can you save on your health insurance as a senior?

Here are a few ways you can make the most of and potentially save on your health insurance.

Rebates

The federal government offers a private health insurance rebate to eligible people to help cover some of the cost of their insurance premiums. The private health insurance rebate is income tested, and generally eligible policy holders over the age of 65 and 70 will receive a higher rebate.

Public waiting times:

One possible benefit from private health insurance for seniors could be saving time from the public hospital waiting list. Depending on your policy, Hospital cover could help you to have a procedure you need earlier. Taking control of your treatment time could put the cost of health insurance in perspective.

What if I have a pre-existing condition?

The good news is, pre-existing conditions shouldn’t increase the size of your premium. In Australia you can generally elect to cover yourself for what procedures are important to you even if you already have a pre-existing condition, however there will usually be a 12 month waiting period before you can claim. A pre-existing condition consists of any ailment, illness or condition, where the symptoms of the condition are apparent in the 6 months leading up to when you purchased your health insurance.

How do I find suitable cover for me?

At iSelect, we compare a range of different providers to help people find a policy that’s suitable for their lifestyle and budget*. Just give us a call on 13 19 20 and someone from our team will take you through your options today.

Last updated: 29/09/2021

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