Health Insurance: Which Health Insurance For Me?

November 15, 2012   Business News
(PRLEAP.COM) Waiting periods? Excess? Co-payments?

The secret to choosing the right health insurance policy is to know what you need. So before you start shopping around comparing policies, consider your basic needs to whittle down the following selection criteria:

  • Budget: How much can you afford to spend each month on a policy? This should include premiums as well as any additional medical expenses (the gap). Also, by taking out private health insurance you may also be eligible to save on the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS). Singles earning over $84,000 per year or a couple, family, single parent earning over $168,000, will need to pay an extra 1% to 1.5% in tax (this will be dependent income level).

  • You can also lock in lower premiums by taking out private health insurance including hospital cover after the 1st of July following your 31st birthday. If you don't, you will have to pay the Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading on top of your premium. The loading increases for every year you are aged over 30.

    If joining in the financial year after your 31st birthday, it is likely you will pay a 2% levy for each year over the age of 31, up to a maximum levy of 70%. Joining at age 45 means you could pay 30% more than someone who joins at age 30, unless you are eligible for an exemption.

  • Coverage type: Is it important for you to take out or have access to extras cover (dental, optical services, etc.) or both? It helps to assess your health needs to identify specific benefits you're likely going to use and eliminate the ones you won't. That way you won't risk being under or over-insured.
  • Coverage levels: Do you need basic coverage or fully comprehensive? Basic coverage is ideal for people wanting to take out private hospital cover to avoid paying the federal government's Medicare levy surcharge (but offers very limited cover), whereas comprehensive cover offers more extensive health coverage. You should be sure to check out the policy coverage details when comparing policies.

  • Now that you have your needs and budget in mind, you can begin comparing policies.

    Waiting periods

    A waiting period is the time between when a person signs up for private health insurance and when they can start claiming certain benefits included in their policy. Maximum waiting periods for some benefits are set by the Australian Government, Private Health Insurance Ombudsman and providers are not allowed to exceed them:

  • 12 months for pre-existing medical conditions.
  • 12 months for pregnancy and obstetrics (birth-related services).
  • Two months for psychiatric, rehabilitation and palliative care services.
  • No waiting period on accidents.

  • These waiting periods exist to protect health insurance providers and members from consumers signing up to the fund to take advantage of the system purely for financial gain.

    Excess and co-payments

    Excess and co-payment options are used to lower policy premiums. An excess is the set amount you agree to pay towards hospital treatment costs. A co-payment is a sum of money you agree to pay for each day you spend in hospital (up to a maximum amount). Generally, the higher you agree to pay, the lower your premium will be.

    You will notice that policies can differ significantly between insurers and coverage levels, with some offering benefits, exclusions or restrictions. Choosi helps you to compare multiple insurers and getting quotes is quick and easy.

    It is your health. Be Choosi - Compare. Choose. Buy!

    This is general advice only: Advice on this website is general only and does not consider your individual objectives or financial situation. Choosi Pty Ltd (ABN 15 147 630 886) offers insurance products from a range of Australian brands. Choosi does not provide information, or offer cover, for all products available in the market and there may be aspects to some products that we do not compare. Choosi is not an insurer and cover is issued by various underwriters. Your use of this website is undertaken in accordance with the full Terms and Conditions.

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