Begin by finding a fund that suits your lifestyle. Health insurers are now recognising that all round health can be nurtured in a variety of ways. So if natural or alternative therapies play a large part in your life, seek out a fund with a broader range of extras cover to match your healthcare preferences. Today some funds offer rebates on exercise physiology, homeopathy and even aromatherapy, provided that the treatments are recognised by certain industry bodies. If you are referred by a medical professional, some funds will also provide certain lifestyle benefits for specific medical conditions that are part of a health management plan. For general exercise; Pilates and group therapy sessions run by physiotherapists are now common in extras cover, so take advantage of these also.
Plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons will generally not be covered by many health insurance funds as it attracts no Medicare rebate. If you need plastic surgery for medical reasons or reconstructive surgery, however, it can be covered or partially covered if you select for yourself the right level of hospital cover.
To save on search time when initially hunting for policies, use a few different online comparison tools to get a sense of what’s available in the market before investigating them further. Keep an eye out for Members Own health insurance funds as they are either not-for-profit or mutual funds, so you will get more of your premiums paid back to you in benefits.
Funding your lifestyle
Once you’ve identified the fund that will suit your needs best, configure it to deliver you the most value and ultimately save you money. Know that if you are overseas or travelling, your fund may have a temporary suspension clause that will mean not paying for cover when you’re not home (and most likely with separate travel insurance anyway).
Next, put the Government’s private health insurance rebate to work and direct your fund to pay it to you in the form of a reduced monthly premium. Depending on your income, it can provide up to a 25% rebate to help you afford your cover. To claim your rebate in this way, contact your fund directly to set it up.
Finally, take advantage of gap free arrangements that your fund has. Being treated by a doctor that participates in their gap cover scheme means that out of pocket expenses are reduced, or in some cases, are zero. Many funds also have a similar arrangements with hospitals, should you need to stay there for treatment also. Setting up an excess that is paid when you stay in hospital can also save you money on your monthly premium if you notice that you are rarely admitted as a private patient, but note that excesses often reset each year.
By following these tips and regularly reviewing whether your cover still suits your lifestyle, you can monitor how much of your benefits you’re claiming which will provide value you to you in the long term, if you are using them!