How Your Health Covers Can Change when over age 65
Once you reach the age 66 or older and meet the means test, you become eligible for certain fortnightly benefits and discounts on many necessary items such as health costs through concession cards. The possible health care benefits include free vaccinations and cancer screening. These benefits are designed to provide seniors more opportunities to timely assess and address their health risks and reduce the need for treatments and procedures minimising serious illnesses.
However, these benefits don’t cover hospital treatments or therapies. As we enter a more health-vulnerable phase of our lives, health insurance coverage selection becomes a higher priority. You’ll want a much wider breadth of treatments and procedures to manage the higher health risks. Thus, you might want to add services and treatments of preventative, remedial, and surgical nature.
On the other hand, you may have some services that could be offloaded from your policies as well. Birth services and reproductive care, for instance, may no longer be needed. Offloading maternity-related needs could allow you to downgrade to a plan with less premiums.
Some of the most prevalent conditions you may want to prepare for are:
- Alzheimer’s Disease (Dementia)
- Heart disease
- Joint replacements
Some seniors would require day-to-day assistance and care in residential nursing homes or in their own home with full-time or part-time carers. Those experiencing more rare conditions may need to access medications not funded by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Schemes (PBS) which is supported by Medicare. Thus, having private insurance coverage is an important part of life planning for seniors for protection and access in various, unexpected health scenarios.
How to minimise your health costs
You can minimise the premiums by selecting a plan that includes only the procedures and treatments which you wouldn’t be able to access cheaply via Medicare or you may need to access quickly (at private hospitals). You could change the excess threshold to lower the premiums but keep in mind that your out-of-pocket costs would be greater if you were to be hospitalised. Another tip is to find policies that do not charge admission fees for day surgeries such as cataract eye surgeries to minimise the financial burden when receiving the common, simpler procedures.
Finding a plan that suits your particular needs can be done by comparing all available plans based on your own criteria.
The Private Health Insurance Rebate gets higher as you age which can help offset a lot of the costs. There are other government benefits and schemes you may be able to access to assist with the costs of additional needs such as home care or residential aged care homes.
Lastly, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and focusing on preventative measures such as therapy will ensure you have less health issues down the line. Frequent medical checks and exercises enhance the likelihood of retaining your mobility and mental faculties later in your life.