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Q: Private health insurance or the public system?

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The main benefits of having private health insurance

Australia boasts one of the best public health systems anywhere in the world, but more than half of us choose to take out private health insurance anyway.

Even though it’s not essential to have private health insurance, and you can still access hospital treatment without it, there are a number of benefits of taking out private health insurance.

There are hundreds of different private health insurance policies and the choice can be overwhelming. If you are considering taking out private health insurance for the first time or switching to a new policy, it’s well worth seeking the help of a private health insurance comparison service like Choosewell.

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Australians who have private health insurance can benefit in a whole range of different ways, from having more in their hip pocket at tax time to accessing services designed to help them maintain their health and wellbeing over the long term. Here are three of the main financial benefits of private health insurance:

You won’t have to pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge

When you earn over a certain amount, and you aren’t covered by private hospital insurance, you will be required to pay an extra surcharge at tax time. This is called the Medicare Levy Surcharge and the amount you will need to pay is calculated based on your family or relationship status and your level of income. Because this can impact your family’s income, it makes good financial sense to take out private Hospital Cover as a minimum.

If you get it early enough you won’t have to pay a Lifetime Health Cover loading

When it comes to getting health insurance, the government wants to encourage people to buy sooner rather than later. As an incentive, anybody who doesn’t have private hospital insurance by the 1st of July after their 31st birthday will have to pay extra on their premiums for any future health insurance policies they take out. This loading increases by 2% each year you delay joining, and if you leave it long enough you can end up paying 70% more on your private health insurance premiums than a person without a Lifetime Health Cover loading. Once you have had 10 years of continuous Hospital Cover, your Lifetime Health Cover loading is removed.

You may be entitled to the Private Health Insurance Rebate

The private health insurance rebate is a way to reward Australians who take out private health insurance by making their cover more affordable. As long as you earn under the threshold (currently set at $140,001 for individuals and $280,001 for couples), the private health insurance rebate will help you reduce the cost of your premiums further.

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As well as the financial benefits of having private health insurance, there are plenty of other reasons to join a health fund. Here are three more of them:

More choice over care providers and treatment

While Medicare covers treatment for many common health issues at a public hospital, it doesn’t cover private hospital treatment or every type of treatment that is potentially available. Many people feel that private health insurance gives them more control over what type of treatment they have and where they have it by allowing affordable access to private facilities and treatment options that might not be covered by Medicare.

Get treated sooner

For procedures and services that are considered non-emergency, going through the public system often means long wait times on public hospital waiting lists. While you may not have an imminently life threatening condition, you might be in pain and/or unable to work. If you have private health insurance you can avoid long wait times and reduce the impact that this could have on your financial situation and overall wellbeing.

Extras Cover can help you stay healthy over the long term

Health insurance is divided into two parts, Hospital Cover and Extras. While Hospital Cover applies to hospital-based procedures and treatment, Extras Cover can let you access services like optical, physiotherapy and dental treatment. These services, while not considered ‘essential’, can have a big impact on your overall quality of life and general health. Taking out Extras Cover lets you claim for some or all of the costs for these treatments so you can maintain your overall health and get more out of life.

Private health insurance lets you take control of your health care treatment and costs, so you can feel more confident accessing the Australian healthcare system.

With so many different private health insurers out there, it can be hard to know which health fund is best for you. Whenever you’re looking to upgrade your cover or take out cover for the first time, it definitely makes sense to compare private health insurance policies.

Choosewell’s private health insurance comparison service makes comparing different health funds quick and easy. Just give us a call and we will find you private health insurance that’s appropriate for your circumstances, gives you the level of cover you need and suits your budget.

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