Tips on finding the best private health insurance

Aside from providing peace of mind in times of illness or injury, taking out private health insurance can provide people with the option of choosing their own hospital, their preferred doctor or specialist and also nominate when they are treated. You can elect to purchase hospital cover, extras/ancillary cover, or a package cover combining both of these. To find the best private health insurance policy make sure you consider the following tips.

Bronze Hospital & Bronze Extras Set Benefits

Entry level hospital cover. Includes preventative dental and optical.
$ 20.35
per week
Select

Bronze Hospital & Silver Extras Set Benefits

Entry level cover. Cover for a range of popular services that suit your lifestyle.
$ 24.35
per week
Select

Silver Hospital Plus & Bronze Extras Set Benefits

Moderate cover. Includes private hospital with some exclusions. Includes cover for preventative dental.
$ 29.90
per week
Select

Bronze Hospital & Bronze Extras Set Benefits

Entry level hospital cover. Includes preventative dental and optical.
$ 20.35
per week
Select

Bronze Hospital & Silver Extras Set Benefits

Entry level cover. Cover for a range of popular services that suit your lifestyle.
$ 24.35
per week
Select

Silver Hospital Plus & Bronze Extras Set Benefits

Moderate cover. Includes private hospital with some exclusions. Includes cover for preventative dental.
$ 29.90
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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* For new health insurance members on direct debit. Must pay first month to be eligible. Prize does not include flights or transfers. Promotional period 4 August 2017 - 24 September 2017. Valued at $1000. View Full Terms and Conditions

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1. Ask the right questions

It's vital to understand what your health insurance policy actually covers. Whether price or features are more important to you will depend on your individual circumstances. Here are some of the main questions to ask your fund.

  • What waiting periods apply? And for what conditions?
  • What excess or co-payment options are available? And is there an annual limit per person or membership?
  • Are any treatments excluded? Or are you covered for things you're unlikely to use?
  • Are any treatments restricted to public hospitals?
  • Does the policy limit you to being treated as a private patient in a public hospital?
  • What hospitals are covered by your fund and are there any treatment restrictions at your preferred hospital?
  • Are you covered at your preferred hospital by your preferred health practitioner?
  • Are you covered at your preferred hospital by your preferred health practitioner?
  • What services are covered in your extras cover? What are the yearly limits on these services or what percentage do you receive back?

2. Make sure you assess you current hospital cover

Make sure you choose a cover with flexible options. You want to make sure your level of hospital cover is best for you and your circumstances. It is important to understand any waiting periods and excesses which are included in the cover.

3. Review your extras

Many people opt for hospital cover as well as extras cover for services such as dentistry, physiotherapy, optical, and many more. Extras cover can vary between health funds. Different policies offer different services and limits, so make sure that your cover satisfies your requirements.

4. Avoid penalties for being uninsured.

The Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS)

The surcharge is an additional tax (on top of the 1.5% Medicare Levy that most tax payers are required to pay) that’s levied on to Australian taxpayers who earn above the MLS thresholds and don’t have private hospital cover.

If you’re an individual earning $90,000 per year, for example and you don't have hospital cover, the MLS means that you’ll have to pay an extra $900 in tax (1% of your annual income). With many hospital only policies the cost is less than $900, so you could walk away with the benefits offered by having the best private health insurance and still some money in your pocket.

The MLS will increase to 1.25% if you earn over $105,000 ($210,000 for couples, families and single parents) and 1.5% if you earn over $140,000 ($280,000 for couples, families and single parents).

Lifetime Health Cover

Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) is an Australian Government initiative that came into effect on 1 July 2000 to encourage Australians to take out private hospital cover earlier in life and to maintain their cover. To avoid the LHC loading, you need to take out hospital cover by 1 July following your 31st birthday. Otherwise, you may need to pay an LHC loading of 2% for each year you are over 30, up to a maximum loading of 70%.

The Bottom Line

Choosing the right policy is important to avoid being either over insured, and paying unnecessarily high premiums, or under-insured, and being liable for large out-of-pocket costs. So it is important to make sure you choose the best health insurance policy depending on our age and current life status. Health insurance funds are flexible in allowing applicants to select which areas of treatment they would like to cover in their policy.

At GMHBA Health Insurance we help you make sure you are covered. We offer the best health insurance policies which delivers real value to our members and helps build a healthier community for everyone