- In the complicated world of private health insurance, one may feel the most secure if paying for extras, i.e. outside-hospital treatments.
- Some of the treatments included in extras are optical, dental, chiropractic, physiotherapy (which were recognised as the most popular in Australia), natural medicine, dietary, and others.
- Depending on individual needs, one should decide if he/she needs extras and what level of coverage should be taken.
Finding out what type of private health insurance is the right fit might not be as easy as one may think, especially when there are 38 insurers in Australia, with each one of them offering different policies for different amounts of money.
To the question of what private policy might be the best for you, there is only one answer – it depends on what you require from your policy.
In order to pick the perfectly befitting policy, one should see what conditions he/she has and then opt for the best solution.
However, not everyone needs extras covered in their private insurance policy. Before one could understand if extras are necessary, let us explain what extras mean in private health insurance.
What are extras?
Extras, or extras cover, represent a particular private insurance policy that involves procedures and treatments that happen outside the hospital. The most popular extras are dental, vision, and physiotherapy treatments.
Private insurance companies offer extras policies as an extension to hospital cover, drastically reducing out-of-pocket costs for prescription glasses or fixing gums and teeth at the dentist’s.
The extras policy can sometimes be referred to as general treatment or ancillary cover.
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What treatments are included in the extras policy?
Not every extras policy will include the same treatments, nor will they have the same price. However, most extras policies, depending on how comprehensive they are, can offer the following treatments:
- Physiotherapy – rehabilitation for people with chronic conditions and illnesses
- Optical – prescription glasses and sunglasses, contact lenses
- Dental – general or major treatments, including orthodontist
- Antenatal/Postnatal – sessions during and after pregnancy
- Chiropractic – management and rearrangement of bones
- Psychology – required counselling
- Natural therapy and alternative medicine
- Osteopathy – manipulation of muscles and bones
- Dietary – professional nutrition advice from a licensed specialist
- Podiatry – extra benefit for seeing a psychologist
- Healthy living – yoga, fitness, and similar
- Home nursing – instead of going to the hospital or after a major surgery
- Ambulance service – all treatments before and while being in the ER
- Speech and eye therapy
- Occupational therapy – teaching life skills and values due to various disabilities
- Accommodation – outside-hospital accommodation paid in extraordinary circumstances
- Health aids – hearing aids and similar helping devices
Do extras have different systems?
Extras may appear differently within two types of health insurance:
- Extras cover – Within this type of private policy, extras generally include treatments that are not covered by Medicare (public health insurance). For example, most dental procedures and physiotherapies are not completely, or at all, covered by public health insurance, so people tend to assure they get extra insurance for similar instances.
- Hospital cover – As its name already says, hospital cover policy pays for agreed medical attention when being admitted to the hospital institution. However, when purchasing hospital cover, extras do not come automatically with the paid price. Everyone needs to decide if they require extras and what they genuinely need. Most private insurers will still offer some basic extras packages with a standard hospital cover policy.
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How to tailor extras?
As individuals go through various milestones in life, like deciding to get married or have children, leaving the workforce to start with retirement, etc, their health cover requirements also keep changing. It is safe to assume that younger generations do not need the same extras policy as required by the seniors.
Yet, a research has shown that some groups of persons do not regularly update their extras nor sign up for what they genuinely need. For example, some seniors continue to have extras that cover pregnancy expenses while millennials are seen to have extras for heart surgeries, which they are not very likely to need anytime soon.
That said, it is of great significance to investigate and properly think about the types of extras one would truly want.
Tailoring extras, as well as private insurance in general, can be exhausting and overwhelming, leaving some people with no choice but to choose the first thing the insurer offers. In order to prevent this potential problem, there are plenty of qualified experts whose job is to help the people seeking extras and private packages. After asking critical questions like do you have impaired vision or are you wearing braces, experts can determine the best choice for each individual.
In case one is already insured, he/she should ask their insurance provider about a claim statement. That document has all information about the policy and what the individual is paying for. It could be a good idea to go through the statement and see if there are some services that need to be upgraded or removed from the extras.
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How to know if one needs extras?
Whether to get extras is an individual decision and varies on many factors. However, there are seven elements that should be well-thought-out before making the commitment:
- Age – Medical treatments fluctuate considerably between generations. Nowadays, younger people need optical and dental extras the most, while seniors would need extras for home nursing, physiotherapy, or chiropractic.
- Budget – Not everyone can afford private insurance, let alone extras on top of that. Hence, there exists a variety of policies with different prices so that everyone can decide what they can afford.
- Health – Some people may have pre-existing conditions, while others may be completely vital and healthy. Also, a growing family has a lot more needs for extras than a single person.
- Gap expenses – Double check if the insurer covers for gap fees within the ancillary cover.
- Limits – There are three kinds of limits one can claim, each differing in the base tier and when they can be claimed – annual, lifetime, and sub limits. Depending on the level of private insurance one has, one may claim more or less expenses.
- Verified providers – Private insurance companies tend to have particular agreements with other firms, offering special deals for their members. It could be a smart suggestion to check the list of those providers and see what extras they are offering.