While health funds offer full and comprehensive cover for hospital accommodation and treatment, there exist a number of methods to reduce premiums which can be arranged when purchasing health insurance products. Selecting only the specific treatments you would like health insurance cover for and excluding others is only one way of reducing your premiums.
Other methods include:
- Agreeing to pay a set amount as an excess, or as a co-payment towards the costs of hospital treatment.
- Agreeing to receive restricted benefits for the treatment of certain conditions, whereby a reduced payment will be made by the health fund for treatment. This can be arranged to apply over an agreed period of time.
Health insurance in Australia is a competitive industry and consumers are free to change funds should they find a policy more suitably priced or matched to their needs. Changing funds need not penalise people who have fully or partially observed waiting periods to receive certain treatments as this is taken into account when joining a new fund.
It is also worth noting that Australian consumers are able to purchase extras and hospital cover policies from two separate health funds and thus are not forced into staying with the one fund for both should they find, for example, an attractive extras policy offered elsewhere despite being happy with their current hospital cover.
The Federal government has introduced a number of initiatives in recent years to entice more Australians to take out health insurance, with the intention of ensuring the economic viability the public health system and the accessibility of public health services for less well-off Australians. These initiatives include Lifetime Health Cover, designed to reward Australian who take out health insurance earlier in life with lower premiums and the 30% Health Insurance Rebate available to members of health funds. The Medicare Levy Surcharge is an additional 1% tax put towards Medicare levied on those Australians earning over an income threshold who do not have an adequate level of private hospital cover.