- The Australian health system is jointly run by all levels of the Australian government - federal, state and territory, and local.
- There are mainly three types of private health insurance in Australia- Ambulance cover, hospital cover, and extras cover.
- Extras or general cover is the insurance for out-of-hospital medical treatments such as dental treatment, physiotherapy and more.
The health system of Australia is one of the best across the world. It offers safe and affordable health care for all people in the country. The different levels of government – federal, state and territory, and local – jointly manage the health system.
Health insurance has become an essential part of the overall health care system. In Australia, the health care system structure is highly developed with health care insurance providing all coverage for medical expenses to the citizens.
There are many private health insurance providers offering coverage for medical expenses depending on the plan selected by the policyholder. The medical costs include all the medical services such as a drug prescription, emergency rooms, medical procedures, and doctor’s visit.
With rising costs in the health care industry, including increasing medical fees, the rise in the price of medical devices and more, the health care insurance companies are tackling financial pressure. Private health insurance can help individuals pay hospital as well as medical costs that are not covered by Medicare.
Australia private health insurance is community-rated and not 'risk-rated' like other forms of insurance. The insurance provider cannot refuse to insure any person and must offer the same premium to everyone at the same level of cover, despite their varying risk profile along with the likelihood of using health services.
There are three main forms of private health insurance-
Let us discuss in detail-
Ambulance policy is the most basic type of insurance policy and covers individuals for the cost of transport in the ambulance during an emergency. Some states, as well as territory governments, cover the ambulance cost services for residents without any private health insurance. The options for ambulance cover vary depending on state or territory one person lives in.
With hospital cover, the insurance policyholder has the right to select his/her doctor and choose whether he/she will be treated at a private or public hospital that his/her doctor attends.
If you are at a private hospital, you may also have some more options as to when you are admitted to the hospital. However, if you are a private patient in a public hospital, waiting lists of the public hospital still apply.
Hospital cover can help with the expenses of staying in a hospital. The costs that will be covered depends on the level of health insurance policy you have. The levels of policy range from top to basic.
Before signing up, one must check and confirm all the inclusions.
When a person is admitted to hospital, they have the following treatment options-
Private hospital insurance plans:
Every health insurance provider offers policies with different levels of cover. In general, the more expensive policies cover a broader range of services, while plans at the lower cost limit the services covered in a private hospital. The hospital insurance policies are classified as Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Basic.
General Treatment or Extra Cover
General treatment cover, also known as extra cover or ancillary cover, offers insurance against some or all treatment costs by ancillary health service providers. The extent of your insurance coverage depends on the type of policy you choose and may include services such as-
- Dental Treatment.
- Chiropractic Treatment.
- Home Nursing.
- Prostheses (for example, Hearing Aids).
- Physiotherapy, Eye Therapy, Occupational, and Speech Therapy.
- Glasses and Contact Lenses.
Extras cover is for out-of-hospital medical treatments. Generally, higher the number of services the policy covers, the costlier it is.
Things to consider before buying a health insurance plan
There are several things to be checked by a person before buying a health insurance plan. If any person is purchasing a health insurance plan for the first time or upgrading their plan, there is a waiting period before claiming benefits. During this period, individuals do not get any benefits for some treatments or may get lower benefits for some period.
The other important thing is to check and compare health insurance policies and get the one which is offering good benefits at a lower cost.
It is advisable to buy a health insurance plan at an early age to attain benefits at a lower cost. Also, the Australian government provides an age-based discount.