In Australia there exists a dual system of health care provision. Medicare is Australia’s publicly funded universal health care system, and provides to all Australian citizens and permanent residents partially subsidised treatment from medical practitioners and fully subsidised treatment in public hospitals. While still entitled to receive treatment through the Medicare system, many individuals, couples and families in Australia elect to purchase private Health Insurance.
This provides peace of mind as members are covered for medical fees which are not met by Medicare reimbursement. Similar to other forms of insurance, health insurance involves the insured member or group paying regular sums of money, or premiums, to the health insurance fund, usually on a monthly basis, to ensure that benefits are available in case of high or unexpected healthcare expenses. Currently, over 40% of Australians belong to a private health insurance fund.
Extras (or ancillary) cover
Provides benefits to be paid for a range of non-hospital services for which Medicare provides either no or only a very limited reimbursement. Such services include optical and dental treatment, and physiotherapy, as well as specialist therapies such as chiropractic treatments and Chinese medicine.
Combined or Packaged cover policy
Most health funds allow applicants the flexibility to pick and choose which hospital and extras treatments they would like their policy to cover, helping to offer a more affordable policy and one tailored to their needs.