Single Parent Health Insurance

single parent health cover

Single Parent Health Cover: Health Insurance Tips For Finding A Better Policy

(6 Minute Read)

Paying for single parent health cover is probably one of the biggest expenses you pay for each month besides your mortgage/rent. The cost of health cover has risen dramatically over the past 8 years, by a whopping 42% on average! On top of rising prices, you also have a significant amount of miss-information spreading throughout the internet surrounding heath cover as well, making single parents more weary about finding a better deal.

We’ve written this article to give you some basic advice surrounding single parent health cover, and to put your mind at ease in regards to finding you & your kids a better deal.

Topics discussed:

  • Staying on your ex-partners cover
  • Leaving your ex-partners cover
  • Best single parent health cover
  • Hospital cover & wait periods
  • Extras cover
  • Where should I compare?

Staying On Your Ex-Partners Health Cover

Can I stay on my ex-partners health insurance plan? Is one of the most commonly asked questions when thinking about health cover after a separation or divorce. The short answer to this is, it depends.

Bupa for example are quite explicit in their fund rules and state “If you are insured under a couples or family policy and you and your partner become divorced or separated, you will no longer be eligible to remain insured under a policy together and it is your responsibility to ensure that each person takes out their own policy.”

However, some health funds which will let you all still stay on the same policy. This is because there is no legislation surrounding this specific issue, so it comes down to a health fund by health fund basis.

So our advice would be to ring up your existing health fund and check. You don’t want to be in a situation where your health fund refuses to pay out on a hospital claim due to your new marital status. However, staying on the old family policy will more often than not, work out cheaper for you, so it’s worth asking the question.

Leaving Your Ex-Partners Health Cover

If you & your ex-partner split cover, you need to make sure you take up a new policy within 30 days generally. Most health funds will allow a 30 day gap in coverage before making you re-serve wait periods. There are some health funds, like nib, who will extend this to 59 days. However the majority of the health funds restrict this to 30.

So, if you’re going to continue having health cover after you split, make sure you take up a new policy within 30 days if you leave your ex’s plan. We’ve heard enough stories first-hand about ex-partners removing people from their plans without them knowing and then having to re-serve all their wait periods.

If you & your ex-partner both take out new policies. Be aware that your children do not have to be covered by both of you, one adult can take out a single policy and the other a single parent policy.

single parent health

Best Single Parent Health Cover

If you only take away one idea about private health insurance away from this article, then it should be this. There is no such thing as the “best single parent health cover”, nor does “the best health fund” exist.

Just because your friend, co-worker or even an online reviewer such as Choice or Canstar recommends a health  policy, the chances are that it will not be best suited to you. Why? Because your identity is not a “single parent”, you are a unique individual with unique children, who all have a different set of needs and requirements from the next family.

Below we’ll discuss what you should be looking out for when choosing health cover policy.

Wait Periods

The first thing you need to know about hospital cover is how wait periods work. If you switch cover to a new health fund, or change cover with your current health fund, you will not, I repeat, will not, re-serve any wait period which you have already served; even if it is a pre-existing condition.

Hospital wait periods will only apply to you if you fall under either of these two categories.

1) You’re new to cover

2) You are upgrading a service you previously were not covered for

For example, say you have a basic level of cover now, and you upgrade to a policy which now covers you for heart surgery. You would gain access to all the thousands of procedures you used to be covered for from day 1, you would just have to serve a wait period of the services you were not covered for, ie heart surgery.

The wait periods on hospital cover are:

  • 2 Months New Conditions
  • 12 Months Pre-Existing Conditions
  • 2 Months in-hospital rehabilitation, palliative care & in-hospital psychiatry
  • 12 Months Pregnancy & IVF

Hospital Cover & Wait Periods

Knowing the standard waiting periods are useful as it allows you plan out your health policy in 3 year blocks. What we suggest is to have a think about the types of surgeries your family could plausibly have over a 3 year period and remove items from your plan which you think have an exceptionally low chance of occurring.

For example, if you’re done with having children, you may wish to remove pregnancy & IVF from your policy. Similarly, if you think that the likely hood of anyone in the family needing a full knee replacement would be slim to none within the next 3 years, you could remove that.

Remember, most basic hospital covers will cover you & your family for all procedures with a medicare item number, except for a small list of exclusions. However, if you’re ever on the fence about a procedure being covered or not, we reckon it’s better to be safe than sorry.

single parent braces

Extras Cover

Extras cover can be a great way to really gain benefit from your heath fund. Firstly, let’s assess whether all of you actually need it. Did you know you can take out a hospital policy for you & your children, and then an extras policy just for you? You can even do this with different health funds!

Now if you have teenagers or tweens going to the dentist each year then we would recommend you all stay on the same extras plan. But, if your eldest child is below the age of 3 and regular visits to the dentist are not a thing right now, it might work out financially beneficial to you to just cover yourself for extras. (Note if you do this, double check your hospital policy covers you for emergency ambulance)

Now if your kids are at the age where they will use extras you really want to maximise your benefits and make sure you get the best return for your dollar. Things you should consider when picking an extras policy:

  • Can I get gap-free dental check-ups for myself & my children?
  • Do I need to have braces covered at this stage?
  • Do we actually use other services like chiro or massage?
  • How often do we use these services?

Maximise Your Extras

With children who need regular visits to services like speech therapy or psychology, an extras plan can pay for itself and then some. For example, HIF’s Premium Options allows up to $1,000 per year on psychology claims and $1,200 per on speech therapy. Having massive limits are great for families with recurring visits.

However, having large limits are not great for families who only use extras services a few times a year, in that case you want to look for a plan which gives you a higher rebate (a higher claim each time). The best advice we can give you on how to choose an extras plan is to think of it like this, you are paying a certain amount of money each year to have a specific extras plan, you need to make sure that you’re confident you will earn more in claims, than you would paying insurance premiums.

If you’re not claiming more money than it costs you to have the plan, then you would financially be better off having no extras plan at all. We speak to so many people who have top extras, paying an extraordinary amount of money each year, but they only claim on the dentist once or twice a year and occasionally a little bit of physio. These people can often save a fortune when they switch to a plan which is more tailored to their needs.

compare single parent health cover

Where Should I Compare Health Cover?

There are lots of places you can compare your single parent health cover, if you want to use a broker, you have options like Health Deal, Iselect, Compare The Market & a few more. If you want to see every single health fund, the health insurance ombudsman has a useful website called privatehealth.gov.au which you can use to look at policies. Using a broker can be advantageous though, as even though no broker represents every single health fund, they still do offer a range of health funds.

Speaking to a consultant at Health Deal for example, can be brilliant because we go through what we call a “needs analysis” to really delve into how you use your policy and assess whether you’re actually getting value from your health cover or not.

If you’re better off staying with your current fund we’ll tell you to stay put, but we always try to not only lower your premium, but to also increase your benefits on the things you use as well.


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Student Health Insurance: A Complete Guide

Student Health Insurance

 

Student Health Insurance:
A Complete Guide

 

Going to university can be one of the most exciting experiences of your life. It is an opportunity to grow as a person, expand your world view and to make new friends & experiences that will last a lifetime.

With all the new changes that are going on in your life, health insurance is probably not one of your top priorities right now. But it is important to at least have some understanding of how it all works and more importantly, if you actually need it.

That’s why Health Deal has created this complete guide, which will cover all the basics for you in one easy to digest place.

For questions surrounding Overseas Student Health Insurance, we recommend you check out a great article by Canstar called “What Is OSHC (Overseas Student Health Cover)”

compare single parent health cover

 

What is Health Insurance?

You’ve probably heard of some of the big health funds already like Medibank, Bupa and HCF, but what do they actually do? Well, health funds essentially offer two products, hospital cover and extras cover, which help cover the cost of various health services.

Thankfully, health insurance is heavily regulated in favour of consumers, and as such, health funds can not price-discriminate against you on a whole range of things like age, sexual orientation, race, religion and gender. They even can’t discriminate against you for pre-existing conditions or lifestyle choices! 

So, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a heap of pre-existing ailments, you smoke 20 cigarettes a day, enjoy extreme sports on the weekend or live a healthy plant-based lifestyle, you will end up paying the same base price as everyone else for the same policy!

Hospital Cover Explained

Hospital cover can cover you for hospital procedures at a private hospital, with a doctor of your choice. Even better than choosing your own doctor and hospital, is the fact that you will not be subject to the public hospital waiting lists when you require surgery.

Health funds will generally only cover you for procedures which are “medically necessary” and have a “Medicare Item Number” (a procedure that Medicare also covers). So basically, you can’t get stuff done which Medicare doesn’t cover.

If you are brand new to health insurance you will have to serve a “waiting period” before you can claim for a procedure. Waiting periods are designed so that you can’t simply join a health fund, claim, and then leave. If everyone did this, health insurers would be out of business. 

The waiting periods for hospital cover are as follows:

  • 2 Months for a new condition;
  • 12 Months for a pre-existing condition;
  • 2 Months for palliative care, rehabilitation and in-hospital psychiatry; and
  • 12 Months for pregnancy.

Once you have served the waiting periods on a procedure though, you won’t ever have to re-serve it again if you maintain cover.

Now if you’re unfortunate enough to ever need surgery, you need to make sure that you ask your doctor if s/he will participate in your health fund’s “gap cover”. If they say they will not, you could be looking at having some pretty nasty out-of-pocket expenses, which is not what you need whilst living on a student budget.

Gap Cover Tip! 

If your doctor says s/he will not participate in your health fund’s gap cover, then ask them if there are any health funds which they will participate with. You can switch your coverage to a new health fund straight away, and get the surgery done with your new health fund because when you switch, you do not re-serve any waiting periods, even for pre-existing conditions!

Just bear in mind, it can sometimes take around 10 working days for the heath funds to swap your transfer certificate across and be able to honour your claim. The other option you have, (if you’re not fussy about having a particular doctor), is to speak to your health fund before your procedure to find a doctor who will participate in their gap cover scheme. Of course, it depends on the situation and your preferences as a patient.

What is Extras Cover?

The other type of insurance health funds offer is what is known as “extras cover”. Extras cover will cover you for a whole range of ancillary health services, which you’ve probably used at some point in your life already. You can claim benefits on a whole range of things, such as:

  • Dental visits
  • Physiotherapy
  • Chiropractors
  • Glasses
  • Remedial Massage
  • Podiatry
  • Psychology Visits
  • Speech Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy

  • Gym memberships
  • Weight Loss Plans
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Hearing Aids
  • Medical Appliances
  • Non-PBS scripts
  • Ambulance Cover
  • And more!

ahm health cover

You can buy an extras policy on its own at a fraction of the cost of a hospital plan. Extras can be great for paying for expensive visits to the dentist and various other health services. But more importantly, if you’ve selected the right one for your needs, you can even claim more money back in benefits than what you’ve actually paid in premiums! 

For Example

Let’s say you’re a student earning (well) below $90,000 and living in Melbourne. You can buy an extras policy from AHM called Black 60 for approximately $351.30 for the year (as of April 2018 with the rebate applied). 

But you’d be able to claim 2 check-ups, cleans & fluoride treatments at Pacific Smiles in Melbourne worth about $380 in claims (2 x $190). On top of that though, you can claim $200 on a new pair of glasses, and 60% of the cost of a physio, chiro, osteo and even remedial massage. As you can see, you’ll be well ahead for the year and save yourself a couple hundred dollars by having this plan. It also gives you the added benefit of covering you for emergency ambulance transport!

Ambulance Transport

We really hope you’ll never need an ambulance during your time at university. But unfortunately, accidents can happen, and depending on where you go to university, you’ll need to be aware of each state’s emergency ambulance system. 

Each state has their own set of laws and rules regarding ambulance coverage. Some states have free ambulance coverage (Queensland / Tasmania), but others could leave you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars out of pocket if you don’t have coverage.  A comprehensive guide to ambulance rules can be found on the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman’s website, here.

Mental Health

Thankfully addressing mental health issues is not as taboo as it unfortunately once was. However, an alarming number of students still suffer from mental health issues in silence. In fact, Headspace (the National Youth Mental Health Foundation) has stated that “one of the largest national student surveys into the mental health of Australian students has revealed that close to 70 per cent of respondents rated their mental health as poor or fair. While two-thirds reported high or very high psychological distress over the past 12 months.” (full article here).

If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression or any other mental health issue, and you’re unsure where to look for help, Beyond Blue and Headspace are both excellent places to start if you don’t feel comfortable speaking to your doctor just yet.

Heath insurance can play its role in combating mental health issues by covering you for services such as psychology visits and in-hospital psychiatry if you ever need it.

Sexual Health

At present you cannot claim for condoms or the pill on private health insurance. Fortunately though, if the budget is tight, and you still want to practise safe sex, you can often receive free condoms from various sexual health clinics across the country.

Can you stay on your parents’ plan?

Do your parents have health insurance already? The good news is, you can stay on your parents’ plan up to the age of 25. Even better, if you’re still in university up until the age of 25, it won’t cost them any more money in premiums to keep you on.

When you’ve graduated and no longer in full time education past the age of 21, you can still stay on your parents’ policy until the age of 25, but your parents’ premium will jump up by around 25% in what is known as “Adult Dependant” cover (so be extra nice to them!)

health insurance seniors

So, do I need health insurance?

If you currently don’t have health insurance and you’re unsure whether you need it or not, our advice is that it really depends. Health Deal is a health insurance comparator, so it’s in our interest that you buy a policy, but for students who are generally fit & healthy, it really comes down to personal preference.

If money is tight and you can’t afford a hospital policy, and if you’re happy being in the public system, then maybe a hospital policy isn’t right for you at this moment. On the other hand, if you’ve got a few health ailments, or you generally live a more accident prone / riskier life, then it might be something to consider to give you peace of mind. It should definitely be something that you talk about with either your parents and/or a family friend to make sure it’s right for you.

With that being said though…if you currently don’t have any health insurance, we do strongly suggest you weigh up the benefits of purchasing an extras only plan. Remember, extras policies are a fraction of the cost of hospital policies and will almost always cover you for emergency ambulance as well as dental and other services.

If you do decide to purchase an extras plan, don’t go buying the most expensive plan with the nicest sounding benefits. Instead, buy the plan you’re most confident you’ll claim the most return-on-investment from. Remember you’re paying $X amount for a plan, you want to make sure you claim that back and more in benefits, otherwise it would have been better to have just saved your money!

 

 

save health insurance

Where to shop for health insurance?

There are dozens of different health funds to choose from, all offering hundreds, if not thousands of different policy combinations. If you want to speak to a consultant, Health Deal represents a panel of different health funds, and we can guide you to a policy that’s the right fit for you at this time in your life. Simply enter your requirements here, and we’ll give you a quick call back and see how we can help.

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Didn’t pay for your health insurance annually? Don’t worry

health insurance annually

Didn't pay your health insurance annually? Don't worry.

Now we’re into April you’ll start to notice a few things beginning to change: the temperature gets a little cooler, your health insurance starts costing a little bit more, and the amount of health insurance ads that have dominated your TV screens for past month have disappeared. You’d be forgiven for thinking that March is the only time people switch their health insurance, but I’m here to tell you this is definitely not the case.

The Myth

Switch on your TV in March, log into Facebook or read one of those suggested articles at the bottom of a news article and you’ll be inundated with advertisements telling you to beat the rate rise by paying health insurance annually in March.

There is so much health insurance related marketing that you'd think that people only switch in March, when they can afford to pay health insurance annually.

The Facts

The truth is only a small amount of people choose to pay their health insurance annually. Looking at our own customer base historically, only 3% decided to pay for their health insurance annually. Even in March this number only spikes to 15% based on the previous two years.

The main reason for this, is that health insurance can be expensive! It’s really not uncommon for a family on top cover to be paying well over $6,000 a year on their health insurance annually. Most people just don’t have that sort of money just sitting in their bank accounts to pay it off in one fell swoop.

What does it all mean?

March has been and gone – your health insurance premium has unfortunately increased and it leaves you with two options:

  1. The first option is to remain on your current plan and keep paying a higher premium for the same benefits you had last year, which your current health fund is banking on.
  2. The second, and more advisable option is to compare your private health insurance and see what else is out there. Just because you compare your cover, doesn’t mean you necessarily have to switch. The Private Health Insurance Ombudsman suggests to review your cover at least once a year as your circumstances can change.
health insurance annually

Who should you review with?

Health Deal is an excellent choice, as we quality check 100% of sales calls unlike some other comparators, which provides you confidence that you were given the correct advice if you decided to switch.  If you’ve never compared your health insurance before, here are some of the benefits:

  1. Lower your monthly premium as well as find higher benefits/rebates
  2. No waiting periods on hospital when you switch, as long you have served them already
  3. Transfer paperwork is handled on your behalf
  4. Choose from multiple health funds
  5. Be more informed about your current policy (as well as about health insurance in general)
  6. Tailor a policy to your individual needs by removing the excess waste you don’t use

Compare Health Cover Now

Health Deal’s goal is to give you a superior policy for around the same price, or an equivalent policy at a lower cost.
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Health Insurance Rate Rise: Beat it, before it beats you

Beat the health insurance rate rise before it beats you.

Why do health insurance prices keep rising?
By Chris Quinn

There are now officially three things in life which are certain: death, taxes and health insurance premiums rising every April 1. In January, Minister for Health, Greg Hunt announced that 2018’s health insurance rate rise was to be the lowest rise in two decades with an average premium increase of 3.95%. He outlined that on average, a single person would only see their policy premium rise by $1.40 per week, and families by around $2.75 per week.

Health Insurance Prices always seem to be going up!

But the problem with this announcement is that for millions of Australian families, their health cover isn’t going to increase by $2.75 per week, it’s going to be much more.

The biggest reasons for this are:

  1. Firstly, just because the industry has increased its prices by 3.95%, that does not mean that your specific policy will increase by that amount. Your policy may increase by 8% or 10% or more, but the health fund might have only increased some of their other policies by 2%, leaving you to pay more
  2. The second problem is that if you’re on a top level of cover, then that 3.95% (of a higher dollar amount) is going to hit your pocket a lot more.
Save on health insurance by paying smarter

There are a few ways you can keep your premium down. One is by paying using a different method. nib, for instance, offer you a 4 percent discount for paying directly from your bank account (as opposed to paying by credit card).

Or why not keep your premium down by paying your premium on a yearly basis before April 1, this way you’ll lock in your old rate for another 12 months. There are some health funds, like HIF for example who will even give you an additional 4% discount on top, just for paying yearly.

For many people though, paying yearly is not an option, so you may have to shop around to get a better deal.

Find a better health deal

When comparing policies with your fund or a comparator like Health Deal, you should be mindful of the price, but more importantly you should confirm you’re getting as much value for money as possible.

Most people in the health insurance industry can save you money by switching your plan and slashing your current benefits, but can they keep your benefits and slash your price?

Health Deal will assess your current policy, see how you’re using your plan and compare it against a range of other health funds to find you a better deal.

If you’d like to compare your current health insurance policy with Health Deal, please click here.

Health Deal’s goal is to give you a superior policy at the same price point, or an equivalent policy at a lower cost. Health Deal is also running a promotion where everyone who purchases a policy will automatically go into the draw to win 6 months free health cover!

Compare Health Cover Now

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