With the rising cost of premiums and excesses, the vast variety of options and extras, plus rules around levies and rebates, private health insurance seems pretty complicated. But we’re cutting through the confusion to give you the pros and cons of signing up to a policy in Australia.
Private hospital rooms
One of the benefits of private health insurance is having the option of staying in a private room (however, this is usually subject to availability). When you are treated in a public hospital as a public patient you often have to share the room with up to six other people with various conditions. If you are expecting a baby and give birth in a private hospital, you will be given your own room where the father of the child or your partner has the option to stay with you.
Select your doctor or surgeon
With most private health insurance policies, you have the ability to choose your own doctor or surgeon (this again is usually subject to availability). Where as if you were to go through the public system, in most cases, you will be assigned whatever doctor is on that shift. Going private means you will also have the same doctor throughout your pre and post surgery.
Private health insurance rebate
Couples and singles who are eligible for Medicare may also be eligible to receive a rebate on their health insurance premium, covered by the government. In most cases, you can receive a rebate of 20 to 25 percent of the cost of your cover. The rebate is income tested, which means that your eligibility for the rebate depends on your annual income.
Many reasons people say that they don’t have private health insurance is the cost. For a single female, aged 25, the monthly cost of the most basic (often called Bronze) health insurance is around $89. You also have to pay out of pocket $750 per admission. The more people and more dependents you have on your policy the more expensive it gets. There are also different levels of cover, with silver and gold tiers generally being more expensive.
When you sign on the dotted line on your contract, that doesn’t mean you’re automatically covered. Most health insurance companies enforce waiting periods before you can claim health insurance benefits. The standard waiting period for health insurance depends on the procedure, type of cover and health fund.
Life or death emergency
If you have been rushed to hospital with a life or death emergency, while your ambulance ride will be covered, you won’t always get a choice on who performs the procedure. If you are rushed into surgery, in majority of cases, the doctor operating on you will be whoever is working or on call at the time.
The information contained on this web site is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser.
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