Health insurance provides cover for people who don’t want to rely on the public health system and the often-long waits for non-emergency surgery. Health cover can also be tax-effective if you would otherwise be charged the Medicare levy. Your accountant will be able to assist there if you’re unsure.
There are a wide range of health insurance companies, including trade-specific ones such as for teachers or members of the armed forces. If you have a family connection which meets their criteria they may offer you a good deal. Comparison sites can be helpful but be aware they don’t list all the health insurance companies.
Research is the answer here although it’s not simple to compare what each fund covers. Your personal or family situation will determine what type of coverage you want – if you’re over 50 or male, you’re probably not looking for obstetrics cover.
While there is still usually some ‘gap’ payment to be made with heath insurance, health cover can give peace of mind that you won’t find yourself on a waiting list if you have a painful but non-urgent condition.
So what about dental cover?
Dental cover needs to be bought separately as part of ‘extras’ cover. There are usually a number of other things such as optometry and physiotherapy which will be part of any extras package. You don’t even have to get your extras cover from the same provider as your hospital cover – you may find you can get a better deal for your specific situation by shopping around.
Like health (or hospital) cover, each service will have specific annual caps on the amount payable and some will have lifetime caps on particular services. Particularly expensive treatments, such as dental implants, may not have much cover so be sure you understand the coverage you’ll get before signing up. National Dental Care accepts all major private health funds.
If your budget will still need some help to get important dental work completed, you may be eligible for National Dental Care’s interest-free payment plan.
What if I’m overseas?
Health or extras insurance does not apply to any injuries or illness occurring outside of Australia – for that you must have travel insurance. Travel insurance is vital if you are travelling overseas. Without it you may not receive treatment or your family may have to mortgage their house for you to be hospitalised or flown home.
Travel insurance will also cover a range of other situations, such as lost luggage or family emergencies requiring you to cancel your holiday or return home urgently. Get your travel insurance as soon as you book your ticket – that way if you or a family member are seriously ill and you can’t travel, you’re covered – it’s not just for the actual trip.
Use it or lose it
Once you have your insurance, make sure you understand the limits and when it resets each year – few offer any rollover of benefits not used.
You may be able to plan major dental treatments so that part is completed at the end of one year and the rest the following year, if the treatment timing will allow it. Don’t forget about the other extras you’re paying for – sort your glasses or physio as well and make the most of your peace of mind. And you can make any appointments with National Dental Care online now.