Health care is both public and private in Australia. Medicare is the public system that pays for the bulk of the healthcare costs of people in Australia. However, if you take out private health insurance, you may be able to have more control over the medical treatment you receive and also get assistance with costs not covered by Medicare.
Private hospital cover through private health insurance gives you the choice to be treated in a private or public hospital, and the ability to request a private room and the choice of doctor.
Levels of Health Insurance
Private health insurance offers both hospital cover and extras cover. Hospital cover refers to the payment of fees charged through a hospital stay, and extras cover gives you coverage for a wide range of medical and allied health services.
From 1 April 2020, private health insurance policies will classify hospital cover into three tiers being Gold, Silver and Bronze (being the most basic). Health insurance policies will have to meet minimum requirements for each tier to be offered.
Health Insurance Considerations for Ageing Australians
Because we’re living longer, the chance of older Australians developing age related illnesses and injuries increases. By taking out a private health insurance policy it might improve your quality of life as you’ll avoid long waiting periods and be able to access allied health services.
While Medicare subsidises the medical costs incurred to meet older Australians health needs, it often doesn’t subsidise extra and preventative services such as massage, gym memberships and dental care. In the long wrong if you don’t take out private health cover, and invest in preventative services, it could cost you more.
As an older Australian, you’ll need to look for a health insurance policy that covers typical age related chronic health conditions as well as extras that are specific to the ageing. For example, you could consider a policy that includes joint replacement, cardiac related services, and palliative care to name a few options.
There are several private health insurance services that you’re able to compare. Make sure you do your research thoroughly and choose the policy that best meets your financial needs, and your current and future health care needs.