Author Topic: Private Health Insurance - Australia  (Read 825 times)

limeandpepper

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Private Health Insurance - Australia
« on: January 25, 2018, 12:23:50 AM »
I think it would be nice to have a general thread (i.e. this one!) discussing private health insurance in Australia? And not just in relation to tax stuff!

I found a bunch of old threads if anyone wants to refer to those:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/private-health-insurance-in-australia/
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/australian-private-health-insurance-a-mustachian-perspective/
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/value-of-health-insurance-australia/
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/does-this-aussie-need-private-health-insurance/

I'm interested to hear more about whether other people here have private health insurance or not, and whether you'll switch to getting it or quitting it in the future, and reasons why.

I'm also curious about what private health insurance basic hospital cover provides that Medicare doesn't. This is something that I have always been a bit unclear about.

limeandpepper

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Re: Private Health Insurance - Australia
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2018, 12:30:19 AM »
I'll start!

Me: permanent resident (not citizen), in my 30s, below the income threshold. I have read through the old threads about private health insurance and it seems that many people think it's not worth it, so I've been reconsidering whether to keep mine. My private health insurance with basic hospital and extras cost me less than $1k/year which seems reasonable so I feel inclined to keep it, given that I get two free dental checks a year, free or discounted contact lenses and glasses, plus discounted physiotherapy and remedial massages etc. I'm sure there are pros and cons to both keeping or quitting it, I just feel like I don't know enough to navigate through it all.

TassieFI

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Re: Private Health Insurance - Australia
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2018, 03:50:19 AM »
Hi there, we are in our late 40ís and are dual Canadian/Aussie citizens and have been living in Australia for the last 8 years.  We have basic hospital cover for tax reasons only and once our 19 year old daughter has her wisdom teeth out we will drop it all together as our income has declined so we donít need it for tax reasons. 

Our experience has been that it is expensive, complicated and covers virtually nothing when it comes to going into a private hospital.  Our plan is to put away the money that we would normally spend on monthly insurance premiums into a savings account to use if needed in the future.  Where we live pretty much all specialists do not bulk bill, very few GPís do and same with diagnostic services such as ultrasound, etc., so we are always paying a substantial gap not covered by Medicare. 

Luckily we are both really healthy (and do as much as we possibly can to keep it that way...lol) and when we did have a medical emergency 5 years ago (my DH had multiple clots in his lung brought on by a combination of factors, but the most significant one being an undiagnosed thyroid cancer), he was treated in the public health system for both the clots (a trip to the emergency dept) and the two ops and radiation treatment for the thyroid cancer.  Our private cover basically covered nothing with regards to the two ops and treatment.  Maybe if we were on the mainland it would be a different story, but where we are in Tassie and from my vantage point working in healthcare, from a financial and health point of view at this point in our lives, itís definitely not worth it.

marty998

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Re: Private Health Insurance - Australia
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2018, 01:55:19 AM »
Oooh I was on my parents plan for my wisdom teeth too. Good idea and well worth it.


I'm also curious about what private health insurance basic hospital cover provides that Medicare doesn't. This is something that I have always been a bit unclear about.

In terms of what does provide that medicare doesn't.... you can get your own private room away from the druggies and mental cases. Again... well worth it.

mustachepungoeshere

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Re: Private Health Insurance - Australia
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2018, 02:38:48 AM »
Oooh I was on my parents plan for my wisdom teeth too. Good idea and well worth it.


I'm also curious about what private health insurance basic hospital cover provides that Medicare doesn't. This is something that I have always been a bit unclear about.

In terms of what does provide that medicare doesn't.... you can get your own private room away from the druggies and mental cases. Again... well worth it.

Unless you get admitted to a public hospital via emergency and end up stuck with the druggies and mental cases anyway.

marty998

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Re: Private Health Insurance - Australia
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2018, 02:46:41 AM »
Oooh I was on my parents plan for my wisdom teeth too. Good idea and well worth it.


I'm also curious about what private health insurance basic hospital cover provides that Medicare doesn't. This is something that I have always been a bit unclear about.

In terms of what does provide that medicare doesn't.... you can get your own private room away from the druggies and mental cases. Again... well worth it.

Unless you get admitted to a public hospital via emergency and end up stuck with the druggies and mental cases anyway.

Of course... elective only :)

casserole_dish

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Re: Private Health Insurance - Australia
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2018, 02:53:45 PM »
Does anyone have experience with dental and private health cover?

I'm 32, earn $87K, never had private health cover.

I went to the dentist last week, at some point this year I need several small fillings and $2000 "minor surgery" (probably classed as major dental).

None of it is urgent. Should I take out private health cover and wait? What are the rebates like?

deborah

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Re: Private Health Insurance - Australia
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2018, 05:19:27 PM »
I have never had Extras, because I've never thought it was worth it, so I haven't had dental covered.

I had a good provider, who covered all the bill when I went into day hospital (once for dental work, and later for colonoscopies). Each place had advised me that most cover didn't cover the total bill, so I was pleasantly surprised each time. However, that provider got swallowed up twice, and they were going to change the coverage so I moved. That said, each time I have changed providers I have read the comparison chart and decided  that the one I wanted wasn't exactly the one that came on top in comparison sites (and lately the comparison sites really don't compare very many providers).

Before I retired, it made a lot of sense to have health insurance. I'm not sure that it does now, but inertia has stopped me from working it out!

Eucalyptus

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Re: Private Health Insurance - Australia
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2018, 04:38:15 AM »
Oooh I was on my parents plan for my wisdom teeth too. Good idea and well worth it.


I'm also curious about what private health insurance basic hospital cover provides that Medicare doesn't. This is something that I have always been a bit unclear about.

In terms of what does provide that medicare doesn't.... you can get your own private room away from the druggies and mental cases. Again... well worth it.

Unless you get admitted to a public hospital via emergency and end up stuck with the druggies and mental cases anyway.

Of course... elective only :)


For me, my local public hospital is literally the New Royal Adelaide Hospital. I'm 1km away. Enormous, single patient private rooms, better than most private hospitals in the state. So the point is moot :-)


I have a basic hospital and electives, mainly for tax avoidance reasons (now 33). Also kind of an old habit, always had it as a kid through my parents. Looking at it recently it really doesn't benefit me much, I don't get my money back at all for the extras. If anything, with the extras, its mainly a "Murphies Law" type thing. Also I should try sort my wisdom teeth out and some final orthodontic before i consider removing it. Oh I do get Ambualnce with it which I would definitely buy anyway locally in SA. My ex and I recently went over private health for her and our daughter, and decided to retract back to basic hospital and basic extras. Just not worth it. Often the stuff past basic is irrelevant anyway to relatively young and otherwise healthy people. Like Obesity surgery (daughter is almost 5, has a 6 pack, both her parents not far off...), hip replacements, obstetrics (sister and Aunty are midwives. Everyone unanimously agrees that public is far better in SA for having a kid...if anything is wrong/complicated, the private hospitals all send you to the Public Women's and Childrens!!!), etc. Rehabilitation...I know someone who does lower body rehab. State expert in use of robotics. She's public, works with adults. There's someone else who does it at Women's and Childrens-publci. There is an old robotic somewhere with some consultant somewhere in private but it costs a fortune, you can bet the gap on your fancy top tier private health will be thousands of$$$ short. Major trauma? Go public.


Private health is such an inefficient waste in Australia its not funny.


« Last Edit: January 29, 2018, 05:45:02 PM by Eucalyptus »

limeandpepper

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Re: Private Health Insurance - Australia
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2018, 02:20:41 AM »
So interesting to hear everyone's thoughts about private health insurance so far! Thanks for giving your take on it. I'm still in two minds about it...

Does anyone have experience with dental and private health cover?

I'm 32, earn $87K, never had private health cover.

I went to the dentist last week, at some point this year I need several small fillings and $2000 "minor surgery" (probably classed as major dental).

None of it is urgent. Should I take out private health cover and wait? What are the rebates like?

I had two of my wisdom teeth taken out in Australia and... that was years ago so I don't remember much, but it was much cheaper because I had private health insurance. You'll have to check the details of different plans. I don't know if your situation might be considered a pre-existing issue and may not be covered.

The other two of my wisdom teeth were taken out in Malaysia. That was even longer ago but safe to say that dental is cheaper in Malaysia than Australia. I believe some people actually purposefully go overseas to get major dental done (I think Thailand is a popular choice), though you do have to be careful and choose a reputable facility.

Eucalyptus

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Re: Private Health Insurance - Australia
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2018, 04:11:34 PM »
I thought I'd check up on vasectomys under the public system in South Aus.


Found this reddit thread. Worth a read if you want a chuckle about guys making fun about them getting the snip!


https://www.reddit.com/r/Adelaide/comments/5ydmkm/affordable_vasectomy/


The take home is that its not hard to get one done basically free if not free just by shopping around a little.

mustachepungoeshere

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Re: Private Health Insurance - Australia
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2018, 09:04:39 PM »
I thought I'd check up on vasectomys under the public system in South Aus.


Found this reddit thread. Worth a read if you want a chuckle about guys making fun about them getting the snip!


https://www.reddit.com/r/Adelaide/comments/5ydmkm/affordable_vasectomy/


The take home is that its not hard to get one done basically free if not free just by shopping around a little.



Quote
Feel free to submit a bid, if you're in the industry, or point me to your medically qualified friend, relative, overambitious dentist, etc. Anecdotes of your experience also welcome, because I don't want to hear "My mate Kev will do it for a slab of Pale Ale" if it also goes with "He's never done it before, but he's pretty handy with a 5-iron, and he'll give the beer back to your estate if you die".

I'm dying!

middo

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Re: Private Health Insurance - Australia
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2018, 09:23:19 PM »
We have always had top-table private with the teachers federation.  It is one of the cheaper options, and does pay reasonably well.  We use private for most things that my wife or kids have needed doing.  We do not have extras.  We had it many years ago, but when we looked at it, it just didn't add up.  Even with the three kids having braces, we are still ahead.

One reason we have for keeping the private health insurance is a family story.  A relative had a growth that was benign, but easily operable, but because she was public, and without any means of paying herself, she went onto the wait list.  She ended up waiting 15 months for the removal, and the growth had become as large as a football, which meant a much larger operation to remove it.  She only really had the operation when the doctors started getting concerned that it was growing quickly, and may have been turning from benign to malignant.  For us, the ability to just get things sorted quickly without too much financial concern is worth it.

We pay $340 per month before any tax rebates.

limeandpepper

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Re: Private Health Insurance - Australia
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2018, 09:59:40 PM »
One reason we have for keeping the private health insurance is a family story.  A relative had a growth that was benign, but easily operable, but because she was public, and without any means of paying herself, she went onto the wait list.  She ended up waiting 15 months for the removal, and the growth had become as large as a football, which meant a much larger operation to remove it.  She only really had the operation when the doctors started getting concerned that it was growing quickly, and may have been turning from benign to malignant.  For us, the ability to just get things sorted quickly without too much financial concern is worth it.

Thanks for sharing this story. That reminds me, I know of a case where someone spent a few days in bed a public hospital for something that probably could've been all done and dusted in one day.

My private cover is just basic hospital (and basic extras) so I don't think it covers much* and I'm not sure if it does anything much beyond what the public system will do. :/

*ambulance, hernia repair, removal of tonsils and appendix and wisdom teeth, joint investigations, and immediate treatment after an accident.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Private Health Insurance - Australia
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2018, 10:33:48 PM »
We have top hospital cover specifically because it covers joint reconstruction as they cost $30k plus.

We still have extras even though I've worked out it's not worth it. I've been saying I'll cancel it for years.

From my experience, if you get private health you MUST find the specialist / surgeon etc that is in network. You can end up paying very little if they have a no-gap arrangement. If they aren't in your network, you may as well not have the insurance as far as specialist fees and extras go. You still get the nice private hospital for just an excess payment though :)

For example, my dental check up costs hundreds of dollars in one surgery, or $30 at the in-network one, including x-rays. I've wasted so much money not realising this.

I had an emergency op a few years ago and all private insurance got me was a few hours wait while the top guy got off the golf course. I'm still haunted by those shared bathrooms...

PS Who wishes they were an anaesthetist - $400/hr I seem to pay!

Astatine

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Re: Private Health Insurance - Australia
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2018, 05:32:09 AM »
Just found this thread. Will write more when I’m on my laptop. I have Opinions, lol.


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stashgrower

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Re: Private Health Insurance - Australia
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2018, 05:59:17 PM »
limeandpepper, I'm in a similar situation (except I'm a citizen). I have often wondered whether to opt out of private, and instead pay out of pocket for extras and put aside savings for other. I did my calcs for annual extras and regular foreseeable expenses. For me it's cheaper to drop the insurance and save up. So the reason I have it is "just in case". But since I'm on the lowest plan, there are lots of exceptions! I haven't dropped it yet, probably will keep it, but I've been on the fence about it. I hate dealing with the insurance co.