However, you’ll probably also want to think about health insurance for the financial benefits it provides.
Between the Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading, the Australian Government Private Health Insurance rebate and Medicare Levy Surcharge, there are a lot of reasons to explore the financial benefits and drawbacks of private health insurance.
While you crunch the numbers, consider the other great reasons to take up health insurance while you’re young?
Medicare has limitations that insurance can help overcome.
Say you’re suffering from recurrent tonsillitis and it’s keeping you out of the office at your new job. You’re ready for a permanent fix and would like your tonsils removed, but this is elective surgery and there are wait times in the public health system. With private health insurance you may be able to get your tonsils removed right away if you have an adequate level of cover.
Imagine you’re at a festival and in the middle of the best weekend of your life, you fall and break your ankle. Your initial treatment in emergency will be covered by the public healthcare system, but you may also need ongoing rehabilitation with a specialist. Your private healthcare may come to your rescue where the public system does not, depending on the level of cover you have.
Many 20 and 30-somethings also take advantage of extras to make the most of their cover. These include services that Medicare won’t touch such as dental care, physiotherapy, chiropractic therapy, psychology and optical. If you play a lot of sport, or you have a history of issues with your teeth, extras could make your private health insurance even more valuable.
Finding the right balance between what you need and what you can afford is as important to us as it is to you, so let’s dive into these options in a little more depth
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare hospital statistics, between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017 more than one in four hospital emergency visits were made by people aged 15-34. 13.6% of all emergency hospital visits were from Australians between the ages of 25 and 34, and 13.4% were 15 to 24 year olds. This certainly makes it seem like younger people might be more accident prone.
Private hospital cover is important because it allows you to be a private patient at both a private and public hospitals, giving you freedom of choice. If you need specialist treatment after an unexpected injury, you might be able to choose from a number of doctors and hospital locations, depending on the stipulations of your policy. Your level of cover may also give you the privacy of your own room.
When you need treatment for something classified in the public system as elective surgery - something that will improve your quality of life but is not life threatening - private health insurance may ensure you get booked in quickly in a private hospital, avoiding waiting lists at public hospitals.
If you’re confident you won’t experience any early health issues, and feel you won’t be needing a specialist or elective surgery anytime soon, the most basic level of hospital singles health insurance could work for you. This provides the most affordable path to having private hospital cover in order to avoid LHC loading in the long run.
Taking out hospital cover following the start of the first financial year after you turn 31 means paying a 2% LHC loading on your premium for every year over age 30 (up to a maximum of 70%) . Visit www.privatehealth.gov.au for more details.
Extras cover provides insurance for non-hospital health services. When it comes to extras there’s the obvious stuff, like dental, physiotherapy, chiropractors and optometrists. Then there are the more interesting options, like naturopathy.
If you know you’ll regularly visit the dentist, or you’re going to want new glasses every year, having extras cover could be worth the cost to get you into the private health insurance system.
Most of the time, health insurers offer policies that combine both hospital and extras cover. With a combination policy, you get the comfort of knowing you’re covered no matter what your health needs, while also picking which extras you’re most likely to use.
For those with singles cover, a bundled package is the most popular choice. According to The Private Health Insurance Membership and Benefits publication, 2,658,182 singles are insured this way.
Speaking to one of our advisors could help you tailor your health insurance to your life stage to make sure you are getting the best deal, the right hospital cover or the right combination of extras for your unique situation.
Hospital cover may be tailored to your situation. Younger people should call to make sure that procedures they don’t need - such as hip and knee replacements - aren’t covered by their hospital policy.
You could also choose extras that suit your lifestyle. If you play a lot of sport or need glasses, you might want to add physiotherapy or optical cover.
Explore how you can make your health insurance work better for you. Call us on 13 19 20.
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