Choosing Health Coverage
With the help of private insurance, you can choose your own doctor and the hospital that you want to go to. In Australia, private health insurance is categorized into these categories: hospital coverage and ‘extras’ coverage.
Extras include things like dental care, glasses, and home nursing. Insurance policies that cover extras usually only cover up to an income cap, so you’ll want to know what the income cap for your specific plan is.
Private health insurance is an essential purchase if you have frequent health issues, may become pregnant, or are much older. Therefore, here listed below are certain things you will want to look out for when choosing a health insurance policy. If you don’t know what to look for when choosing healthcare coverage, you may inadvertently choose the wrong plan.
Here’s what you should avoid when choosing health coverage:
1) Not looking at what the policy covers.
The most basic hospital policy will probably cover accommodation as a private patient in either a public or private hospital, but will most likely exclude high-end services like giving birth.
2) Not claiming benefits.
You can claim either a dollar or percentage amount for the health insurance policy you have chosen, depending upon the specific service you are claiming. For example, $100 per person or 60% of the total cost for the service.
3) Not doing investigations on annual limits.
The annual limits are the maximum benefit payable each year for each service and/or treatment. They differ depending upon the policies, so you will have to review the SIS of the policy, or Standard Information Statement.
4) Not looking into the co-payment policy.
To give out lower premiums to private insurers, hospitals generally have co-payment policies wherein you agree to the amount that you are able to pay for each day that you stay in a hospital. You can pay nothing, or in some instances, over $500 in co-payments.
5) Not looking at policy reviews.
If you don’t read about what customers are saying about the insurance company, you will not know how satisfied the customers are, nor will you know about how many complaints the policy generally receives.
6) Not understanding which exclusions apply.
There may be services in the policy that your provider will not help pay benefits towards. Nowadays, hospital policies must adhere to an easier classification system: basic, bronze, gold, and silver. Certain benefits may be excluded in each tier, so you’ll need to check and see what may be excluded.
7) Not knowing what the premiums are.
Be sure to compare the funds that provide you with the coverage you need. By comparing prices, you can be assured that you are receiving the best value for the price you pay.
There’s something else you should take note of. Lifetime Health Cover, a system in Australia, entices people to take out private policies. LHC insurance increases in costs the older you get, and goes into effect after the age of 30. If you are older than 30 for the first time that you acquire private health insurance, then you will need to pay extra.
This extra pay is roughly 2% extra for every year after you turn 30. This rule is only applicable after the first decade in which you first applied for private health coverage. Migrants who come to Australia may have to abide by different rules, however, they are not exempt from LHC.
There are many easy mistakes you can avoid when choosing a healthcare policy. There are also certain restrictions for the Australian government. For example, ACA Health Benefits has restrictions for church employees and their families.