Australians are lucky when it comes to health care. Whenillness or injury strikes, there is no question regarding your access to health care, whether or not you own private health insurance.
The Australian government guarantees that everyone is entitled to Medicare to help cover many medical needs; but few people realize what the limits of their Medicarecoverage are, and where private health cover fits into the equation.
When you dont have a solid understanding of thedifference between what Medicare covers and what your health insurance covers, its difficult to make the best decisions for yourself and your family when it comes toplanning for the future and protecting your finances if an unexpected illness or injury disrupts your lives. Bycomparing health plans, you can get a better idea of howmuch private health coverage actually costs, and what it can do for you.
Who needs private health coverage? Doesnt Medicarecover all of your health insurance needs? What if youre a young couple or family with no reason to worry about health issues?
Its important to start by understanding how Medicareworks, and what coverage it does and does not provide.
Medicare was introduced in Australia in 1984 as thecountrys public health cover system, guaranteeing access to free or low-cost medical and hospital care for every Australian citizen and permanent resident.
The Medicare system offers access to a public hospital and treatment by a hospital appointed physician. While Australians receive excellent care through the Medicare system, there are little to no options when it comes toselecting the hospital in which you will be treated, or even when you will be admitted.
Under Australias Medicare program, any treatment thatdoes not fall into the "emergency" category is considered to be elective, which places patients on a long public hospital waiting list to be seen.
Australians can improve their health care situation by purchasing private health cover to augment Medicare,which you retain even when your private health plan takes effect. When your health insurance strategy includes a private policy in addition to Medicare benefits, you have the option to choose treatment as either a private orpublic patient in a private or public hospital. The decision is up to you.
People with private health coverage earn choice and flexibility when it comes to their own care. Your healthinsurance allows you to choose the physician or specialist responsible for your treatment, the schedule for admission to the hospital for treatment, and quicker access to any elective surgery you may be having.
Your insurance will cover most if not all of those costs that Medicare does not pay, and you can avoid waiting on a public hospital list for the treatment you need.
Its important to check with your insurer and read yourpolicy details before you schedule a hospital stay to be sure your health insurance covers your particular procedure.
When it comes to receiving treatment outside of a hospital, Medicare will cover 100 percent of the cost to visit a general practitioner, specialist, or medical center. In fact, your private health plan cannot by law pay for costsincurred when visiting a physician or specialist outside of a hospital.
Still, there are plenty of medical services that Medicaredoes not cover, but your health insurance can, including:
- Certain therapies including occupational therapy, speech therapy, and optical therapy.
- Natural therapies like acupuncture and homeopathy.
If you or your family needs or wants access to theseservices, your private health plan can include coverage for the specific treatments you will be seeking.
The best way to make realistic decisions regarding your familys coverage is to first make sure you have a good understanding of Medicare. Determine what coverage your family needs according to your age, lifestyle, and whether or not any preexisting conditions need to beconsidered. Compare health insurance policies to find the best coverage to fit your needs and your budget.
Speak to an insurance consultant and ask for a thorough explanation of all the benefits available to you, boththrough Medicare and your private health insurance. Noone can put a price on the health and financial well-beingof their family. Augmenting your Medicare benefits with private health coverage in an excellent way to achieve financial protection and peace of mind.