Stay At Home Mum is the ultimate guide for real mums, the perfect, the imperfect, the facts… and just a little cheeky!
You can’t control what life throws at you, but you can safeguard your family from the unexpected.
If you’re considering going private, now is the time. Rates will rise in April so secure the best deal this month.
I was introduced to private health insurance in my early twenties because the company I worked for provided a corporate discount. I’ve kept paying it since, not because I have a massive disposable income, but because my wellbeing is a priority.I feel secure knowing that my family and I are covered, and to me, that’s almost invaluable.
That said, not only can Australia’s health system seem painfully complicated, but there’s a price tag on opting to go private. And when there’s a free service (Medicare) on offer, you could be confused as to why you should consider shelling out your hard-earned money. I want to share my personal story with you to help you decide whether or not private health insurance is worth it for your family.
Unfortunately, we don’t always appreciate our health until we hit a bump in the road. Over the years, I’ve had multiple operations, including a tonsillectomy, hysterectomy, and breast surgery. Thanks to my private health insurance, I was well looked after, experienced minimal wait times and my hospital costs were covered for my cosmetic procedure. I also went through a few years of IVF, and I appreciated the support I received through such an emotional time.
Then there are the more routine needs within my family. For example, I wear glasses, as does one of my children and both of my children need a fair amount of dental work. My husband also suffers from a bad neck but receives relief from appointments with an osteopath regularly. From the big scary surgeries to the routine procedures, I’m incredibly thankful that my family have received outstanding care.
However, until recently, I hadn’t reviewed my policy in over 20 years. Then a friend recommended that I check to make sure I’m getting the best deal. It turns out I wasn’t. I’m a cautious person, so I did plenty of research. Through stellar reviews, I discovered Health Insurance Comparison, the least pushy comparison site I’ve ever experienced. They helped me update my plan, tailored it to my family’s needs and consequently saved us a lot of money – about $1200 a year to be precise!
So, how can you learn from my experience? By shopping around, and using sites like Health Insurance Comparison that actually care, you will get the best deal for you and your family.
Why Medicare often isn’t enough
While all Aussie residents have Medicare to fall back on, it’s far from comprehensive cover. Although you’ll be looked after in the case of most emergencies, it falls short on elective procedures. It’s also in high demand, so there’s a lot of pressure on the system.
One reason I kept my private health insurance was to avoid the long waiting times for procedures that are ‘elective’; sometimes you can be waiting for years. Despite the government making promises to reform Medicare for years, it’s hard to imagine that these won’t benefit everyone. Ultimately I’d recommend you research Medicare for yourself to make sure it covers what’s most important to you.
A quick recap on what Medicare doesn’t cover:
But knowing what you get and whether it’s worth it can be hard to understand, so here’s what you need to know!
There are a few things you’ll want to consider when you’re thinking about private health insurance, particularly when it comes to it’s worth to you. What you need to remember is that the government wants you to have private health insurance to relieve pressure on the public system.
So, here’s what to think about when you’re making that decision.
|• You can get the surgery you want when you want. No waiting lists (provided your health insurance covers the procedure you require).|
|• You have more control over your choice of doctor and hospital.|
|• You can claim some costs that are not covered by Medicare on your health insurance.|
|• Depending on your cover, they will help you pay for dental, osteopathy, physiotherapy etc.|
|• When you have private health insurance, you don’t need to pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge.|
|• As an individual policyholder, you can add family members so that you, your partner and your children are all covered under a single umbrella policy. This can often work out cheaper than buying individual cover for each member of your family.|
|• Even when you’re in excellent health, there are lots of ways to get daily value out of your health insurance too. Many providers offer exclusive health discounts, tools and more.|
|• It’s another cost, and it’s getting more expensive each year.|
|• There will be a health fund rate rise in 2020.|
|• More people are opting out of health insurance due to the cost, which in turn makes it more expensive.|
|• Private health insurance doesn’t necessarily cover all costs of medical treatment – you can still be out of pocket depending on the out of hospital treatments you require.|
Health insurance should be on your radar if you earn over $90,000, even if it’s just for tax purposes. For families, it’s important to remember that just getting a cheap health insurance policy is probably not going to make a difference. Cheap insurance policies are worth what you pay for them, so don’t just buy one and assume you’ll get cover for what matters to you. Do your research, and talk to an expert if it all gets too much – honestly, I can’t recommend Health Insurance Comparison enough for this. It certainly doesn’t help that they calculated my savings would be about $1200 a year!
If you’re a low-income earner, do not worry. The Medicare system, although not perfect, can support you. I’d suggest putting money into a separate account for unexpected medical expenses not covered by Medicare than spending what you have on a cheap policy. But by shopping around, you will get the best deal for you and your family.
Jody Allen is the founder and chief editor of Stay at Home Mum, one of Australia’s biggest mother’s networks sharing recipes, health tips, parenting advice and more.
*Disclaimer: If you do decide to use this awesome service and save yourself some money, we might get paid a very small commission. These little commissions help us keep the lights on and we really appreciate your support.