Australians are fond of debating whether or not private health insurance is worth the money. Some people think it is, and some think it isn’t. Obviously, there are many individuals who can get by without maintaining insurance through a private health fund. On the other hand, for many people, health insurance is one of the wisest possible investments; these people gladly spend the money on it in light of the considerable value it provides them. Let’s take a look at 4 situations in which private health insurance is clearly a bargain:
1. When You Couldn’t Easily Cover the Cost of Ambulance Transport Out of Pocket
Ambulance transport is free for Australians living in Tasmania and Queensland, because their state government pays the bill in cases where an ambulance ride is necessary. Everyone else in Australia has to be concerned about how much an ambulance ride might cost them if they happen to need it. A typical ambulance bill could potentially cost hundreds of dollars at a minimum, and is likelier to cost thousands. In contrast, ambulance cover is extremely cheap.
Could you easily cover a bill for several thousand dollars out of pocket in the event you have to take an emergency ambulance ride? If you couldn’t, private ambulance cover is likely to be a smart investment for you.
2. When You Frequently Need Medication or Services That Medicare Doesn’t Cover
Australia’s Medicare system ensures that all the citizens’ highest priority medical needs are met. However, it doesn’t cover every last medication or service you might happen to want. For example, things like vision care and dental work can’t be claimed for under Medicare. There are also some medicines that the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme does not subsidise.
If you don’t want to pay exorbitant out of pocket fees for these expenses, you’ll want to consider enrolling in a private health fund to help you defray the costs. Many Australian private health insurance funds cover these sorts of expenses under their “extras cover” or “ancillary cover” policies.
3. When Private Health Insurance Costs Less Than Your Tax Bill Would
The government imposes a hefty Medicare levy surcharge on affluent Australians who do not maintain what they deem to be sufficient levels of hospital cover through a private health fund. This tax is designed to encourage people who can afford health cover to pay for it themselves through the private system instead of crowding public hospitals when care is needed.
If you earn enough to be liable for this tax, you’re likely to find that there are private health insurance policies that would cost less than your tax bill would. In that case, you’d obviously get more benefit from paying for the health insurance than you would from paying a big tax bill.
However, you do have to take care to avoid junk health insurance policies. Most available policies have the opportunity to provide an excellent value for the money you spend on them, but not all of them do. Therefore you have to be a consciously informed consumer when you shop for health insurance. Our search engine can help you compare health insurance policies to find the best value on a policy offering the benefits you’d be likeliest to use.
4. When Your Life Depends on Getting Care from a Particular Specialist Doctor
Doctors aren’t all created equal. While it is true that high standards are built into the Australian medical system by default, there are still some doctors who are more qualified than others in their various fields of specialisation. Some doctors are less experienced, while others have spent a lifetime gaining expertise in a particular medical niche.
There may be times when you’re convinced that you need to see a specialist who has attained the highest possible level of expertise in delivering the specific type of care you’re in need of. At times like these, it really pays off to be insured by a private health fund – because private health funds give you much more flexibility in choosing your own healthcare providers than public Medicare does. When you rely on Medicare, it’s typical to be assigned to the care of a doctor at your closest public hospital. While that doctor is, of course, likely to be proficient and qualified, they might not be the absolute best doctor the country has to offer. In cases where you’ll need to seek the highest possible level of care, private health insurance gives you a major advantage.
This is a point that’s especially worth considering if you’ve contracted a rare or poorly understood disease or condition that would regularly require a specialist’s attention for treatment.
These are some of the most common situations where private health insurance is clearly a bargain. There are sizable numbers of Australians who routinely claim back more in benefits than they pay out to their health funds in premiums. If you’re a frequent consumer of healthcare, it is definitely worth doing a quick analysis of whether you’d be likely to save money by enrolling in a private health fund.