Over 50% of Australians have private health insurance—even though Medicare provides us with one of the best public healthcare systems in the world.
That’s because private health insurance provides increased choice, convenience and flexibility.
For example, in the case of elective surgeries:
You’re on the Public Hospital waiting list, so it might be months before you can have your surgery.
Choice of Times
Schedule your surgery in a Private Hospital at a time that suits you and your doctor.
You’ll be told which public hospital to attend for your surgery.
Talk to your doctor and health fund about suitable hospitals, and then choose the one that’s right for you.
The hospital will appoint the doctor who will perform your surgery.
Choice of Doctor
Feel reassured by choosing the doctor to perform your surgery.
For most surgeries, you’ll be in a shared room with other patients.
Many private hospital covers offer private rooms.
Other benefits of going private
Private health insurance also provides cover for services generally not included under Medicare like dental, optical, physiotherapy, chiropractic, remedial massage and acupuncture. Many people use their private health cover to get access to services they may not otherwise be able to afford.
Plus the Australian Government has introduced a number of different measures over the years—including a rebate, a loading and a surcharge—all aimed at encouraging more people to go private. See What’s it all going to cost? to find out more about the money side of things.
So if you’re after peace of mind, shiny white teeth and possibly spending less on government loading and surcharges, private health insurance is a smart choice.
Covers all or some of the costs of hospital treatment as a private patient (in both public and private hospitals) including doctor’s charges and hospital accommodation.
Covers treatments generally not available under Medicare, including dental, optical, physiotherapy, chiropractic and acupuncture.
You can purchase hospital only insurance, extras only insurance, or combined hospital plus extras cover.
As a general rule, the more expensive the health cover you choose, the more hospital procedures and extras treatments will be included and the more money you’ll get back when you claim.
What cover is right for you?
Health insurance is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.
Needs change depending on things like lifestyle, life stage, health issues and financial situations. That means that a single 30-year-old looking for basic hospital and extras cover will have a different list of requirements to a young couple planning on having their first child.
Choosing health cover can be confusing and even a bit overwhelming. That’s why most health funds provide tools on their websites to help you choose the cover that’s right for you. Or if you prefer to talk to someone, you can get advice over the phone. (You can call Australian Unity on 13 29 39.)
All Australian Unity hospital (and hospital plus extras) covers help you avoid or reduce the MLS and LHC loading, so it’s not just the rebate that may help you to save money.
Government incentives and surcharges aside, it’s important to choose a level of cover that meets both your health and financial needs.
Don’t shop by price alone though—cheapest does not always equal best value. You’ll often find that paying just a little extra each month can actually end up saving you money, because you’re covered for more services that you’ll actually use.
After adding up the money you can receive back in claims, and considering whether any of the Government's incentives and surcharges described above apply to you, you may find that health insurance is a lot more affordable than you expected.