What is private health insurance?
When you take out a private health insurance policy it means that you’re electing to pay for healthcare and medicine that isn’t publicly funded by the government. There are many benefits of private health insurance, including: staying in a private hospital room, choosing your own doctor or surgeon, and dental cover. Overall, private health insurance gives you greater flexibility and better access to health services but you do need to shop around for a policy that’s right for you.
How do you compare health insurance?
Deciding which health insurance is right for you can be a challenge. It’s always best to have more information than less, so here are some important factors to consider when comparing health insurance policies:
What level of cover do I need?
Assess your lifestyle and any health risks you think you might face in the future.
What’s included and excluded?
Depending on your age and stage of life, you may want some particular type of care covered.
What is the monthly premium?
How much you can afford to spend on your policy?
What excess will I have to pay?
Am I better paying a higher premium to reduce the excess?
Do I need extras?
What extra health services are important to me? Will I actually access the health services offered by the cover?
What’s the the waiting period?
Before joining any fund make sure you’re aware of all the relevant waiting periods.
How is Members Own different?
Members Own is a group of not-for-profit mutual health funds which have teamed up to provide private health insurance products. A Members Own health fund is restricted to certain groups or industries, unlike an open health fund which anyone can apply for.
The main difference between a Members Own health fund vs an open health fund is what each group does with the health insurance premiums paid by their members. An open health fund (for-profit) aims to ensure that their health insurance premiums provide a return to their shareholders. Whereas a Members Own health fund (not-for-profit) generally only needs enough revenue to cover operating costs. Any gain is reinvested to improve health services and insurance products.
Although Members Own health fund is limited to certain groups or industries, if you do happen to be eligible it can offer cheaper health insurance premiums, and policies which may be better suited to your specific needs and circumstances. Many people who are actually eligible for Members Own are missing out on more affordable private health insurance.
What are the main benefits of getting Health Insurance?
You avoid lengthy wait times to receive elective surgery
No priority patient order, you can be confident your surgery won’t be pushed back for a more urgent case
Private patient accommodation which encourages better sleep for healing and encourages friends and family to visit
Extra care not provided by the Medicare public system; dental, physiotherapy, osteopathy, antenatal and postnatal care and more
Select the hospital and surgeon that you would like, rather than having no control about where you go and who operates on you.
Learn more about private health insurance
What is Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading?
Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) Loading is a Federal Government initiative introduced on 1 July 2000. It is designed to encourage Aussies to take up private health insurance earlier in life and maintain their cover over their lifetime. The Lifetime Health Cover loading is added to the base rate premium but by joining young you’ll pay much lower health insurance premiums than someone who joins later in life.
Do I have to serve waiting periods if I switch health insurance covers?
No, in general, you don’t have to serve a waiting period if you’re switching to an equivalent health insurance provider. However, it does still depend on the provider you’re switching to, so let us know and we can confirm this for you.
What is the Australian Government Private Health Insurance Rebate?
The Australian Government rebate on private health insurance is designed to help cover the cost of your health insurance premiums. The scheme was introduced in the late 1990s as an incentive for more Aussies to take up health cover. The rebate is based on your income and there are two ways you can receive it:
1. As a premium reduction through your private health insurer
2. As a tax offset when lodging your annual tax return.
Does my health insurance policy automatically provide ambulance cover?
It always pays to check whether emergency ambulance cover is provided in your health insurance policy. Not all insurers will cover it and depending on where you live, your State or Territory may automatically provide emergency ambulance cover.
What is extras cover and can I save on medical expenses?
Extras cover is for general treatments that the Medicare public health system doesn’t cover. This can be for such things as: dental care, physiotherapy, antenatal and postnatal care and more. Electing for extras as part of your private health insurance means that, yes, you can save on medical expenses. It’s always important to check what extras are included in the policy and if you think you will benefit from them.
What’s the main benefit of having hospital cover?
The main benefit of having hospital cover is that you don’t have to pay the full cost of your medical treatments or surgery. Your accommodation is in a private patient room and food is also covered.
Do I need to take out hospital and extras cover?
You’re not obligated to take out combined hospital treatment and extras cover, but it does provide more comprehensive coverage. People typically like to feel covered in case of an accident or surgery, but also for more general medical expenses.
How do I know if the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) is relevant to me?
If you don’t have private health insurance, and earn above a certain income, then you will be charged a Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS). This is a tax imposed by the Australian Federal Government to encourage individuals to take out private hospital cover to reduce demand on the Medicare public health system. The surcharge is included with the Medicare levy on your notice of assessment.
Are all health insurers the same?
Australian health insurers fall into two categories - for-profits and not-for-profits. Members Own, for instance, is a group of not-for profit mutual health funds who use health insurance premiums to benefit their members. For-profits, on the other hand, exist to make profits for their shareholders or overseas investors.
Which states in Australia have Private Health Cover?
All Australian states – NSW, VIC, SA, WA, QLD, TAS, ACT, NT - have health insurers who offer private health cover. It always pays to check with your local health insurer to find out what benefits you’re entitled to as these can differ depending on which state you live in.
What is the difference between a private hospital and public hospital?
Having private health insurance policy means you can enjoy faster treatment at a private hospital. You have more flexibility around where you go and who you choose to treat you. Going private can mean a quicker recovery and a more pleasant recuperation. With a public hospital you go on a waiting list and your treatment may be bumped back if there is a patient with a more urgent need. You have no choice of who treats you or where your treatment takes place.
When will my health insurance premium increase?
Health insurance premium increases typically occur annually from the 1st of April. This is when all private health insurers review their insurance products and apply premium increases to keep up with the cost of medical treatments. The industry’s average increase for 2018 was 3.95%. Notification of the annual increase is sent to members by email or mail, depending on your preference.
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Who needs cover?
If you have any questions with health insurance needs,
Members Own have friendly staff who are all health insurance experts.
You can call one of our team on 13 10 66.
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There are 19 Members Own health insurers
Whenever you see the Members Own symbol next to a health fund logo, you're looking at an insurer that exists to deliver the best possible service and benefits to you — the member.
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