Private health insurance has many pros and cons. While some Aussies love the security of having coverage for medical expenses and healthcare options not covered by Medicare; others feel forced into taking out private health insurance by government policy on healthcare rebates.
Either way, while the cost of premiums goes up, rebates tend to stay the same. So we’ve collated our top tips for getting the most of out of your cover, especially when it comes to dental benefits.
Most health funds offer annual limits for extras cover. But if you don’t use your allocated amount for extras services, your allocation expires. No storing it up for a rainy day. No rolling it over into the following year. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. Check your individual policy to find out when your benefits expire (eg by calendar year, financial year or on the anniversary of your policy) and spread your expenses across the year.
Your health fund may offer a ‘preferred provider’ list for extras services like dental or physiotherapy –promising extra benefits or higher rebates on selected services. While this may seem like a good offer, it limits your options down to a select few providers. Many dentists now offer no gap check ups for all health funds – so there’s no need to limit your choice! Search ineedadentist.com.au to find a no gap dentist near you.
There are so many private health funds in Australia (around 40 at last count), so it really pays to shop around for the best deal. Price of premiums is obviously a bid deciding factor, but don’t forget to research other things like waiting periods and customer service. Ask the fund to waive your waiting periods – it’s worth a try.
Switching health funds can be a bit of a hassle. Insurers rely on the fact that once you’ve joined, you’re likely to stay. But there’s nothing stopping you from negotiating the terms of your cover. Again, do your research so you know what the market is offering. Then ask your insurer for a better deal.
Before you renew your cover, go back to the basics and ask yourself why you have health insurance. For example, most health funds pay between $1,500 and $2,500 towards the cost of braces for kids. And while some people will save money on taxes by having private health cover, it pays to weigh up whether the cost is better than saving the money and putting it toward your health care costs.
Find a dentist who can help you get the most from your health fund benefits at www.ineedadentist.com