Price is only one consideration when comparing health funds. Health insurance can differ from fund to fund, so here's some advice on what to look out for in your search for the cover that best suits your needs.

Lower out of pocket expenses

Some funds have arrangements with health providers and hospitals that can help keep your out-of-pocket costs down. Generally speaking, the more providers and hospitals that a fund has agreements with, the easier it is to help their members reduce costs.

WHAT TO ASK

Does the fund you're thinking of joining have a large private hospital and extras provider network where members can enjoy greater value?

How much money you get back

Whether it's a hospital stay, or a visit to a health professional such as a physiotherapist, optical retail outlet or dentist, you'll most likely want to know how much you can get back when you make a claim. Take a minute to think about the services you currently use or will need to use in the future.

WHAT TO ASK

How much will you get back for services you're likely to use? What annual limits apply to these services?

Length of time before you can claim

If you are new to private health insurance or changing to a higher level of cover, all health funds have waiting periods (the time you need to wait after taking out your cover before you can receive benefits). Make sure you know what waiting periods apply to your policy. This is particularly important if you're planning on starting family and want to be covered for obstetrics-related services.

WHAT TO ASK

Which services are you covered for straight away? Which services have a waiting period and how long are they?

Making changes to your policy

As our lives change, so do our health needs. Whether you're single, married, have a family or are enjoying your retirement, you need to know that you can easily change your policy. And if you're planning a stint overseas, you may need to suspend your policy for a while.

WHAT TO ASK

How easy is it to change your policy? Can you suspend your policy for a period without penalty?

Convenient ways to claim

Claiming shouldn't be a hassle and funds offer a number of ways to make a claim. You may want to claim online, on-the-go using your smart phone or you might prefer to speak to someone. Have a think about what would suit you best and find out the options available to you.

WHAT TO ASK

How can you claim? How long before my claim is paid?

Special arrangements for children

Need cover for the whole family? Find out about special arrangements for children. Some funds offer cover with no hospital excess for children and might also cover older children who aren't studying full time.

WHAT TO ASK

Is there an excess for children when they're admitted to hospital? Until what age can children stay on family cover while they are studying full-time? What options are available if they are not studying full-time?

Health services and support

Health insurance isn't just about being sick. Prevention is just as important and some funds go further than others when it comes to helping you maintain good health. Tailored health advice and support can make a world of difference.

WHAT TO ASK

What extra support or services does the fund offer to maintain good health? Is it included in your premiums, or does it cost more?

Access to other insurance products

Just added a dog or a cat to the family? Heading off overseas soon? You might want to take out insurance to be on the safe side. Many health funds also have other insurance products like pet, travel or life insurance that you can access (often at a discounted rate if you're a member).

WHAT TO ASK

Does the fund have any other insurance products? If yes, can you get a member discount?

We'd be happy to answer your questions. Call 134 190

For additional information please also see Private Health Insurance Ombudsman and Private Health Insurance Administration Council websites.