Coming from the UK with the National Health Service (whom I actually worked for) where almost everything is FREE, the Australian health care system seemed complicated. 'Straya has a universal healthcare system, Medicare, kinda like the NHS. Health care is available to all and is somewhat financed through a 2% Medicare levy tax on our wages. Access to GP's and public hospitals are just some of the benefits. So WHY would we need private health cover? More importantly, why should you fork out for it if you’re already super healthy?
- avoid long waiting times for elective treatment (predominantly surgery)
- save money on taxes after 30 years old.
- choose your own specialist or hospital
- option of a private room (dependant on your cover)
- reduced stress waiting for the public health system to look after you.
- Relieves strain on the public system and frees up government funds to upgrade hospitals.
- Some offer benefits with "preferred providers" which limits choice
- The cost of cover
- Possible out-of-pocket costs when health cover doesn't account for the total fee
- Complications of claiming
So, do you need private health cover to stay healthy?
In short, you need to weigh up the pros and cons to see what's right for you. I personally am so thankful I have private cover because even though I'm probably in the top 10% of the healthiest people you'll ever meet (!), I recently went for a jog, tripped on un-even stairs and broke my ankle. I'm now a year into physio and exploring surgery options. You CANNOT predict health complications, no matter how healthy or cautious you are.
If you want in, think about THESE things before choosing a health cover provider:
#1. Don't just use comparison sites - When searching for health cover, the "free" comparison sites may compare only some health funds and policies, or earn a fee per sale from insurers.
Tip: be sure to check other insurers and speak to friends and family to get recommendations. I personally love Peoplecare. It's a not-for-profit with awesome member satisfaction ratings.
#2. Level of service - are you happy to make a claim online or wait FOREVER and then speak to a machine? Think about what suits your needs best and what you're willing to accept as a consumer. Personal service is important to me. You need to search around and look at reviews. I highly recommend adding Peoplecare into that search.
Tip: speak to the provider before buying online. It will give you a sense of how long you may be waiting to have your call answered when you need to speak to them as a member.
#3. Ease of claiming – are there any hoops to jump through to make a claim? Endless paperwork and evidence? Avoid it like the plague.
Tip: Look out for providers with a mobile app (if that's your jam), online claiming and on-the-spot claiming at providers to make your life that much easier.
#4. Value for money - there are VAST differences in prices, whether you're opting for basic and/or extras, so be sure to read the fine print and really find out what you're getting for your hard-earnt cash.
Tip: try to find a provider that offers a mix of what you need and less of what you don't want. I want ambulance, optical, physio, dental and remedial massage cover, but don't require Natural therapies , pregnancy or travel.
Hopefully that gives you some food for thought. It's a bit of a minefield, especially if you're not used to the health system here, but taking the time to choose a good provider with a solid reputation is worth it in the long-run. Remember: do your research.
This article is sponsored by Peoplecare. All opinions are my own, baby. Thanks for supporting those who make all the epic free content on here possible. Peoplecare has developed a reputation for the highest levels of customer satisfaction in Australia. The company differentiates itself on six key principles: they’re all about the customer, they’re personal (no machines answering phones), they’re to-the-point (no confusion), offer value for money, easy to work with and are totes loveable (hence why I want to shout about them from the rooftops).