Confused by Health Insurance? You're not Alone.
Updated: Apr 14
Like most Australians, you are probably confused about Health Insurance? If you are, you’re not alone. With over 35 Insurers and more than 27,000 health insurance products on offer in the Australian market, it’s easy to be so!
But maybe Health Insurance is something that you’ve never really thought about. After all, most of us don’t like thinking about illnesses or accidents. But like all things in life, Health is unpredictable.
If you haven’t ever seriously thought about Health Insurance, you’re not alone there either. Most Australians make sure they insure their homes and their cars. Still, they are guilty of not protecting their most valuable assets – themselves and their loved ones.
So how do you navigate this complex world - ensuring you're looked after, both financially and from a health perspective?
But before we jump in let’s explore Health Insurance a little more.
In April 2019, the Australian Government acknowledged just how confusing that situation is by introducing a compulsory new classification system for Hospital Insurance: Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic. With Gold Hospital Insurance being the most comprehensive and covering everything that can be included, from a hospital perspective.
The Australian Government also uses a carrot and stick approach to motivate Australians to take out Health Insurance.
For eligible Australians, the Government may subsidise part of your Health Insurance via a private health insurance rebate that helps to cover the cost of your premium. More recently the Government has introduced a youth rebate for taking out insurance. Still, if you are under 30 and earning less than $90,000 for an individual, you might ask why bother?
If you earn over $90,000 for individuals ($180,000 for couples and families), you will be charged a Medicare Levy Surcharge of up to 1.5% of your taxable income if you don’t have Hospital Insurance. Additionally, if you don’t have Hospital Insurance by the time you turn 31 extra charges will apply. A loading called the Lifetime Time Health Cover Loading is added to any premium you might subsequently take out.
An additional and timely initiative is around Mental Health. The new rules allow for waiting periods to be waived when moving to Gold Level Policies, which by definition provides non-restricted Psychiatric care.
So there are plenty of financial incentives to get health insurance, as well as health incentives!
So How Do I Choose What I Need?
First, it’s essential to understand what Health Insurance is. Health insurance is broken down into two general types - Hospital and Extras. These can be sold as individual policies or bundled together as a Combined Policy.
Simply, put Hospital Insurance covers the costs of treatment in Hospitals and Extras cover the cost of things like Optical, Dentistry, Physio etc.
Hospital Insurance can provide you with tremendous peace of mind that you (and your family) will be able to get health treatment if you need it. You can avoid the lengthy waiting times that exist in the public hospital system, as well as have access to a private hospital room and to a potentially higher standard of care.
Hospital Insurance is also crucial for managing the carrots and sticks mentioned above. Extras alone will not save you on extra taxes or loading. So the real question becomes what level of Hospital Cover do I need and are Extras worth it?
It’s also important to understand three other simple things about health insurance:
1) it doesn’t have to be confusing,
2) it helps you to protect your most valuable assets (yourself and your family); and
3) health is unpredictable.
How iSelf can Help.
iSelf cuts through the noise of some 27,000 plus policies and focusses on only offering you the best in Hospital Insurance – Gold Level Cover. As to Extras well we want to make sure you really need them.
iSelf provides you with the information and choices to help you afford the best in Hospital Insurance. We help you choose the right level of excesses and co-pays (to manage the cost) and let you decide whether Extras are worth it or not.
At the centre of iSelf is our patented Health Score Calculator. By measuring how Healthy you are, and the likeliness of going to Hospital, we can help you select the right level of excesses and co-pays. The healthier you are, the higher the levels we suggest and the cheaper your premium.
As to Extras, our check-up tool allows you to compare your premium against what you might get back. If your premium is more than what might be paid out, why not remove Extras and self-insure, i.e. put some money aside to cover unexpected costs. If not, keep Extras – its always your choice.
iSelf makes sure your Health Insurance protects you. With access to agreements with over 550 private hospitals Australia-wide and with over 36,000 doctors, you get to choose:
which doctor provides your treatment, where it will be provided, and when it will be provided.
iSelf goal is simply to put you first.
Want to find out more?
Visit us at iself.com.au.