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First, what is health insurance?
Private health insurance generally consists of and general treatment cover, also known as . There are different types of cover that offer different benefits.
With Hospital cover, if you're an Australian resident with private health insurance, you can choose to be treated as a private patient at either a private or public hospital (provided the services are included on your cover and you have served your waiting periods) or a public patient at a public hospital.
If you are a private patient at a private hospital, you may also have more choice as to when you're admitted to hospital. If you are a private patient in a public hospital, the hospital waiting lists may still apply for elective surgery.
Extras cover helps with the cost of services that are generally not covered by Medicare - things like dental, glasses, physiotherapy and a range of other services that are included on your chosen level of Extras cover.
Depending on the level of support you want from private health cover, you can choose Hospital cover or Extras as a standalone policy, or you can choose to have both as a more comprehensive health cover package.
5 reasons why health insurance could be worth it for you
1. Want elective treatment sooner?
In the public system, if your condition isn't urgent, you'll be placed on a waiting list for in-hospital treatment - even if you're in discomfort, and even if your ailment prevents you from undertaking your usual work. Private hospital insurance will generally mean shorter wait times on a wide range of in-hospital elective procedures (where included on your cover and subject to any applicable waiting periods) in a private hospital.
Prior to COVID-19, Australians reported waiting four times longer on average1 in the public system than in private for elective surgeries. As elective surgery restrictions ease across the majority of Australia, most private hospitals are increasingly doing more elective procedures so you can look forward to having surgery when you and your doctor are ready.*
2. Your own room
Do you value privacy? Private hospital cover can help provide the comfort and privacy of your own room in a private hospital.2
3. Your doctor that you know and trust
With private hospital cover, you can choose the doctor you know and trust for your treatment.
You can use Medibank's Find a Provider tool to see the practitioners and specialists that operate in your area, including (in many cases) their history of charging out-of-pockets to help you make an informed choice.
4. The benefits of extras
There's more to private health insurance than treating illness and accidents. Extras cover supports you for accessing services that can help you better manage your health - like optical, dental, physio and so much more.
5. Keeping your surgery costs down
Elective treatment in a private hospital without private hospital cover can be much more expensive. To find out how much you could be out of pocket, use Medibank's Procedure cost estimator. Private hospital cover pays benefits towards your treatment, and in some instances there are no out-of-pocket costs for these procedures.
Always check with your treating doctors and ask about Informed Financial Consent.
What are the common hospital procedures for someone like you?
Our interactive tool reveals the common procedures, what you might pay out-of-pocket and how health insurance could help manage the costs.
How much extra tax could you pay without hospital cover?
Use the Medicare Levy Surcharge Calculator to find out if you're eligible, or discover how much extra tax you may be paying by not having Hospital cover for a full tax year.#
Things you need to know
1 Data sourced from Ipsos Healthcare & Insurance Australia 2019, A17b(i)
2 Subject to hospital resourcing, availability and clinical need
* The Victorian government has announced a range of restrictions to elective surgeries in Melbourne Metro and Mitchell Shire from July. Speak to your treating doctor to see how these restrictions may affect you.
# Where annual income for Medicare Levy Surcharge purposes is over $93,000 as a single (or $186,000 as a couple/family/single parent).
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