Choosing a Seniors’ Health Insurance Policy That’s Right for You
Are you considering taking up a seniors’ health insurance policy? If so, it’s important to choose a cover that’s designed to meet your current and future needs as an ageing Australian.
Health Insurance for Seniors Explained
Firstly, it’s important to explain that there are two types of health insurance cover. The two different types are hospital cover and extras cover. You can also choose to combine them both into a package.
A health insurance “hospital policy” can cover you for most of your inpatient hospital bills. Usually you’ll be covered for your hospital accommodation, any theatre/ surgery charges. Additionally you’ll likely be covered for medications as an inpatient, and some doctor’s fees. There are standard tiers of hospital cover across the industry – Gold (top level), Silver, Bronze and Basic (lowest level) cover.
To better understand what’s included in hospital cover, Jessica Lyons, the CEO of Health Care Insurance Ltd explains: “Common ageing health issues such as joint replacements or prostheses are covered under some hospital policies – the higher the level of hospital policy, the wider your range of cover will be.”
A health insurance “extras policy” covers you for ancillary or general treatments that aren’t covered under Medicare benefits. These are treatments such as allied health services, dental services and other services such as alternative therapies. Jessica Lyons from Health Care Insurance further explains that for seniors, “Other common ageing related issues such as hearing aids, podiatry, optical, dental and physiotherapy services are all covered under certain extras policies.”
Policy Exclusions to Save on Premiums
If you choose a comprehensive package that includes Gold Hospital and extras cover, you’ll have peace of mind. You can however try to find products that exclude services that you don’t want covered to save on premiums.
The expert advice that Aged Care Prepare received is that you need to be careful with exclusionary products, as this could leave you exposed if you don’t know exactly what you’re covered for.
An example of the above is that you might have recently reduced your insurance policy by excluding some procedures to try and save. But you’ve made sure you’re covered for joint replacements. To keep the costs down you decided not to have renal dialysis included in your policy. Renal impairment is a health concern for ageing Australians and the time might arise when you need this service. If it isn’t included in your current policy, you won’t be able to access your private health insurance for any hospital admissions for this procedure.
If you find that you wanted to be covered for everything possible on your health insurance policy, but you’re worried about the costs involved, there’s good news for the over 65’s.
Over 65’s Discounts and Rebates
Older Australians receive a specialised rebate for seniors’ health insurance. The Australian Government’s Private Health Insurance Rebate is a discount for your private health insurance premiums which is based on your annual income. This rebate is available for all Australian citizens and the rebate increases if you’re aged over 65 years.
Under the current legislation, older Australians aren’t eligible for a pensioner discount on health insurance but offers for new and existing members can vary from fund to fund.
Furthermore, for those who have a person over 70 years of age on the health insurance policy, the rebate goes up again and depending on income, it can be over 1/3 of the premium.
For ageing Australians, the Federal Government Rebate is a significant saving on a seniors’ health insurance policy, and is definitely worth finding out about at the time of searching for a health insurance policy that’s right for you.
Other matters to consider if you’re looking to reduce costs is to look at your Hospital Excess. Increasing this excess could reduce your costs. Excess can vary from $0 up to $750.
In reviewing your excess, it’s important to understand that you may have to pay this excess for a day procedure. So look around for a fund who’ll waive the same day excess for any day admissions (Cataracts and colonoscopies are common day procedures) as this could save you significantly over time.
Ultimately, if you’re after peace of mind then Gold Hospital cover will provide you with that level of comfort. Older Australians may look to remove specific items such as pregnancy, but make sure you’re clear on what else you could be losing.
Points to Consider
Membershealth.com.au is a great place to start when looking for a fund as they represent 27 not for profit health funds across Australia.
Finally, depending on your background you may be eligible to join a closed fund like the Emergency Services Health Fund or Navy.