Private Health Insurance is increasingly under household budget pressure, as families and individuals attempt to keep spending under control. As physiotherapists, we understand the importance of investing money in your health. Early assessment and management is advisable, but financial pressure has meant some people delay seeing their health professionals because of the cost, even when they do have private health extras.
Now we as Physiotherapists are definitely NOT qualified to give financial advice - so we will not be doing that today - but if you are looking at your situation and wondering how to decide what is right for you, we do know some of the places you should start looking:
don't compare the market - Ask the Government
Yes, we are serious.
Don't waste your time using commercial comparison sites as you will never get the full picture. We suggest you start at www.PrivateHealth.gov.au.
This is where they explain what Private Health Insurance is, how it works, how to decide if you need it and what type would be good.
Check out Choice
The consumer watch dog does LOTS of work in helping us be better consumers, so they have already done a bit of the leg work for you. Head to their website and search under Private Health Insurance for a heap of information. Fans of The Barefoot Investor will also have seen he has some advice on the topic.
Want a better rebate?
If you have private health extras, but wonder if your rebate is a good one, we have a brochure produced by the Australian Physiotherapy Association, that helps explain what your rebate could be (they believe it should be 75% of the cost of your visit!!!). It also has tips on how to change funds if you find a better deal. We have a brochure on the topic here.
Think of "extras" as a savings account
Extras cover is actually more like a savings account (your "pie") than insurance - you "buy" your amount of money in your "pie" when you pay your yearly fee (even if you are paying monthly/quarterly etc), and that gives you access to a set amount of money for that service. Once it has gone, it's gone. And if you don't use your pie all up, it also disappears at the end of your year and you get a new one for the next year. Generally the pie does not get bigger each year, but each fund (and each tier) has different sized pies!!
The sky is not the limit
Your funds' yearly limit (your pie) will obviously run out the more you attend, but also runs out more quickly the larger your rebate (ie: you will be taking bigger chunks out of the pie). So how frequently you attend also affects what cover will suit you. Sometimes a smaller rebate each visit is better as your "pie" will last longer.
what about preferred providers?
Here at Barossa Physiotherapy we have an arrangement with Health Partners, which means those in that fund have a guaranteed rebate every time they come. Members of other funds are still able to see us and are entitled to a rebate from their "pie", but the rebate may be variable. You still only ever get the one "pie" though (even if you see a preferred provider) so it's important to remember the total costs over the year, not just how much you get back each visit. You can check this by contacting your fund and asking about the rebates you will get for Physiotherapy.
We hope this information helps you get your head around private health extras. You need plenty of spare time to compare it properly, but being informed always make decision making easier.
Disclaimer: this information is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account any particular person's circumstances. Before acting on this information, you should consider the appropriateness of this information having regard to your personal objectives, financial situation and specific health or other needs. We recommend your undertake your own investigations and consider independent advice specific to your situation before making nay decision in relation to your own health insurance coverage requirements.