Nearly half of all Australians have hospital treatment insurance, according to reports. Still, there are many who choose to rely on the public health system entirely. They then end up paying for a variety of healthcare costs because they are only partially covered by Medicare. This is aside from healthcare that is not covered at all by the public healthcare system. That is one benefit of private health coverage, but it isn’t the only one. Here are four benefits of private health insurance.
You Don’t Have to Wait for Care
One of the biggest benefits of private health coverage is that you don’t have to wait as long for medical care. This is especially true for elective surgery like joint replacements and cataract surgery.
For example, surgery to fix a deviated septum can be delayed as long as nine months. On the flipside, critical surgeries tend to happen quickly. For example, heart bypass surgeries typically happen within three weeks. Even when the surgery is provided by the government healthcare system, private insurance means you could have access to a private hospital room. In some cases, you could decide when you are admitted to the hospital. When you are in a private hospital, you will also be certain when you are having the procedure done. In a public facility, your procedure could be pushed back so that the doctor can handle a more critical patient.
You Will Have Extra Coverage
Medicare does not pay for everything. Private health insurance covers services the public system does not cover, like in-home nursing care, podiatry, chiropractic care, speech therapy and physical therapy. You have to pay part or all of the cost of glasses, hearing aids, and dental care. If you are not in perfect health, then these costs add up fast. This is why over half of the population had an extras policy in 2017, though a much smaller number had full private health coverage.
You Could Save Money
Suggesting that you could save money by signing up for health coverage and paying the accompanying premiums sounds counter-intuitive. However, you could save money in a variety of ways. For example, it means you don’t have to pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge or MLS. The MLS was designed to encourage taxpayers who earn more than a certain amount to have private insurance, essentially moving them out of the public system. If you sign up for private insurance, you could receive a rebate on health services not paid for by Medicare. A majority of Australians who sign up for private coverage get a rebate from the government to offset premiums, so you may not pay as much as you think for private insurance, too.
You may also save quite a bit of money in the end, thanks to the Lifetime Health Cover or LHC. This government health initiative was intended to get people to sign up for private health cover at a younger age. You’ll save money on your premiums if you sign up now rather than waiting until you’re older. Once you hit 31, the premium you’d pay goes up by 2 percent per year. Once you’ve paid that premium for ten continuous years, then they’ll remove the load as long as you maintain the policy.
Private health coverage is an investment. While there are premiums to be paid, you’ll save money in other ways. You really cannot afford to be without the protection of a good policy.