What are the elements to compare when finding the best private health insurance?

Starting April 1 this year (2014), private health insurance premiums in Australia are expected to increase at an average of 6.2%. The Herald Sun reported in December that this said increase is almost triple the annual rate of inflation.

Citizens and most permanent residents of Australia are covered by the public health care provider Medicare. Medicare coverage is extensive and includes medical, hospital and pharmaceutical costs. It does not cover all medical costs however. The Australian government encourages combining Medicare with a private health cover.

The hefty insurance premium hike is likely to prompt many Australians to rethink their private health care coverage. Despite the price increase, there are still many affordable options for private health insurance to suit your needs.

Gold Hospital (no pregnancy) & Gold Extras Set Benefits

High level Hospital cover, accessing many services. Extras cover for a range of popular services that suit your lifestyle.
$ 49.20
per week
Select

Gold Hospital (no pregnancy) & Silver Extras Set Benefits

High level Hospital cover, accessing many services. Great benefits on a wide range of popular services.
$ 40.95
per week
Select

Silver Hospital Plus & Gold Extras Set Benefits

Moderate hospital cover. Includes private hospital with some exclusions. Extras cover for a range of popular services that suit your lifestyle.
$ 42.10
per week
Select

Gold Hospital (no pregnancy) & Gold Extras Set Benefits

High level Hospital cover, accessing many services. Extras cover for a range of popular services that suit your lifestyle.
$ 49.20
per week
Select

Gold Hospital (no pregnancy) & Silver Extras Set Benefits

High level Hospital cover, accessing many services. Great benefits on a wide range of popular services.
$ 40.95
per week
Select

Silver Hospital Plus & Gold Extras Set Benefits

Moderate hospital cover. Includes private hospital with some exclusions. Extras cover for a range of popular services that suit your lifestyle.
$ 42.10
per week
Select

* The price shown is per week and applies to a Single living in VIC with a $500 excess. It excludes LHC loading and includes a Base Tier Government Rebate

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The key to the best health care coverage amid the rising costs of insurance premiums is to compare policies. This guarantees you the best coverage that fits your health care essentials at the most competitive price.

Evaluating and comparing health insurance policies can be complicated. Each policy has its own inclusions and exclusions. Which features and elements do you compare in finding health insurance?

The best place to begin is with the website http://www.privatehealthinsurance.gov.au.

This is the most valuable online source of information about private health care insurance. The website is maintained and managed by Australia’s Private Health Insurance Ombudsman. Because the Ombudsman is a body independent of private health funds, the information on the website is certain to be accurate and useful.

The website provides an exhaustive list of health funds with information on policy details found on each page: http://www.privatehealth.gov.au/dynamic/healthfundlist.aspx

There are five crucial elements to compare between health funds:

Health Cover In Your State. Some private health insurance funds work in all states and territories in Australia. Others operate only in select areas. Make sure the fund you prefer operates where you live. If you already have a preferred health care facility, you could inquire about their agreements with health care providers.

Health Cover For Adults. How many adults are covered in your policy? This refers to people who live in the same household over 18 years old that require health cover. Private health funds have different rules about adult coverage. Pick the one that you find best matches your needs.

Health Cover Dependents: Health insurance policies have different rules about dependents. Dependents may include children under 18 years old or full-time students from 18 to 24 years old. Again, compare fund inclusions and exclusions to pick the best for you.

Health Cover For Your Needs: Do you frequently need cover for hospital costs, dental, or optical services? Make sure the policy you choose incorporates cover for the medical services you anticipate using.

Eligibility For Restricted Funds. If you are a member of a specific organization or if you belong to a specific industry, you may be eligible for coverage from restricted funds instead of funds that are open to everyone. Refer to the below list to find out if you are eligible: http://www.privatehealth.gov.au/dynamic/compare.aspx

Keep in mind these five elements and even with the looming insurance premium increase, you are sure to find the best health care coverage in Australia.