Ten Tips for Comparing Health Care Policies
Australians know that health Vinzite coverage can provide security for individuals and families when medical needs arise. Many, however, do not know how to find the best value when comparing health insurance policies.
Below are tips everyone should read before shopping for private health coverage.
1. Choose coverage that concentrates on your specific or potential health needs.
The first thing you should do before comparing your health plan options is determine which policy features best fit your needs. A 30-year-old accountant, for instance, is going to need very different coverage than a 55-year-old pro golfer or a 75-year-old retired veterinarian. By understanding the health needs that most often correspond to people in your age and activity level group – your life stage – you can save money by purchasing only the coverage you need and avoid unnecessary services that aren’t relevant. For instance, a young family with two small children doesn’t need joint replacement or cataract surgery coverage. A 60-year-old school teacher isn’t going to need pregnancy and birth control-related services.
Whether it’s high-level comprehensive care you’re after or the least expensive option to exempt you from the Medical Levy Surcharge while providing basic care coverage, always compare health insurance policies with only those services that make sense for you and your family.
2. Consider options such as Excess or Co-payment to reduce your premium costs.
When you agree to pay for a specified out-of-pocket amount if you are hospitalized, you sign an Excess or Co-payment option to reduce your health insurance premium.
If you choose the Excess option, you agree to pay a predetermined, specific amount when you go to the hospital, no matter how long your stay lasts. With a Co-payment chance, you agree to pay a daily sum up to a pre-agreed amount. For example, if Joanne has an Excess of $250 on her medical coverage policy and is admitted to the hospital, regardless of her stay, she will pay $250 of the final bill. If Andrew has signed a $75×4 Co-payment with his provider, he will pay $75 per day for the first four days of his hospitalization.
For younger individuals who are healthy and fit with no reason to expect to land in the hospital any time soon, either of these options is a great way to reduce the monthly cost of your medical insurance premiums.
Remember that private insurers have rules regarding Excess and Co-payments, including how many payments you must make annually on either option. It is essential to read the policy thoroughly and ask questions in advance to understand what you are paying for and what you can expect coverage-wise if you are hospitalized. Also, make sure you choose an Excess option greater than $500 if you’re purchasing an individual policy or $1,000 for family coverage to be exempted from the Medicare Levy Surcharge.
3. Pay your health insurance premium in advance before the cost increases.
Each year, insurance providers increase their premiums by approximately five percent sometime around April 1, a practice approved by the Minister of Health. By instituting these annual increases, your health insurance provider can fulfill its obligations to policyholders despite increasing medical costs.
Most private medical policy providers allow policyholders to pay for one year’s premium in advance, which locks them into the previous year’s rate for an additional 12 months – a great way to save money. To take advantage of the savings offered, most insurers require payment in full to be made within the first quarter of the year, between January and March.
4. Lock into low-cost health insurance at an early age.
The most obvious advantage any Australian can take when saving on insurance premiums is buying in early at the least expensive rate. And by early, we mean before age 31. Everyone eligible for Medicare will receive at least a 30 percent rebate from the government on the price of their health care premium, no matter what age they are. However, purchasing hospital coverage before July 1, following your 31st birthday, ensures the lowest premium rate.
After age 31, your health insurance rate is subjected to a two percent penalty rate increase for every year after age 30 that you did not have health insurance. Therefore, if you wait to purchase private health coverage until age 35, you will pay 10 percent more annually than if you bought it at age 30.
There are exemptions for some people who were overseas when they turned 30, for new immigrants, and for others under special exception status. However, suppose you purchased private insurance after the age 30 and paid an age-loading penalty on your health coverage. In that case, you will be relieved of the excess liability after ten years of continual coverage.
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