Consumers in Australia have a very wide range of options when it comes to Private Health Insurance. With so much choice available in the market, choosing the best value and most appropriate health plan can be complicated and confusing.
There are, however, some important key points that can simplify the process of shopping around for health insurance.
Hospital and ancillaries
There are two main types of private health insurance plan - hospital and ancillary policies.
Ancillary cover is also known as general or extras cover, and may cover treatments such as dental, optical, physiotherapy and other types of medical care.
Most plans allow customers to combine hospital and ancillary cover, or sign up to separate plans and choose which parts of each they wish to include in the package.
Customers can select the best plan for them by looking at which types of treatment are covered, then selecting plans that include extras relevant to their circumstances, and exclude covered items which that are unlikely to require, as to not pay for unneeded coverage.
Increasing your excess
One method some private health customers use to reduce the cost of their plan is to raise their excess, to lower their premiums.
An excess, in this case, is the cost paid by the consumer if they are admitted to hospital.
Increasing the excess can reduce the price you pay for insurance, which is a common technique policy holders use to reduce the cost of their premiums.
When customers sign up to a health plan, or upgrade their existing insurance, there are typically waiting periods before specific claims can be made.
It is highly recommended that customers looking at different insurance plans are aware of the existing wait periods before signing a policy, as some treatments may or may not be covered for certain periods of time.
Assess your needs
While it is impossible for any of us to accurately predict the future of your health or medical needs, it is is important to take personal circumstances into account when assessing a health plan and its suitability for your needs.
For example, if you have a family history of illness, it is advisable to consider this when choosing a health plan, especially in regard to ancillary cover.
Most health plans have waiting periods for health services relating to pregnancy and childbirth which are around 12 months. This means that anyone planning to start a family or have a baby needs to have joined a private health plan in advance falling pregnant, so they are covered.
It is crucial to assess needs of this nature before joining a private health insurance plan.
There are many complex considerations to take into account when you are shopping for health insurance, and it is important to be aware of the terms, conditions and specific coverage of a plan before signing up.