Should I cancel my health insurance? Read this first.

An interesting article appeared in Fairfax newspapers that suggested that people do not need private health insurance.whyyoudontneedphu
If you are considering cancelling your health insurance policy on the back of this bold advice, it is worth considering a few very important points.
Australia is incredibly lucky to have a strong public health system that protects those in need. Does that mean that there is no place for the private system? Of course not. Both systems play a very important role in spreading the demand for medical services across two systems and ensuring that those who need free healthcare the most are able to access it. Conversely, those who are wealthy enough to afford to pay for healthcare, can and should do so.

The fundamental reason that the private health system exists is to take the burden off the already overcrowded public system. If you are wealthy enough to pay for private health, is it really fair to clog up waiting lists and beds when there are people much more needy who cannot afford private health? Having an effective blend of public and private healthcare is a sensible way to balance the needs of the lower income earners and efficiency of services.


The argument that you should refrain from paying insurance and keep the savings under a bed for the day when you need to pay for an expensive service is all well and good unless you believe in managing risk.  And it is important to understand the fine print for all insurance policies, whether it is for your health, your car, your travel, your pet or your life. To imply that health insurance products are inferior to other insurance products is simplistic at best and misleading at worst. The best way to find out if you are covered for a particular service, or if the hospital you want to go has an agreement with your health fund, or if there will be a medical gap payment when in hospital, is to speak to an expert from your fund or a comparator.
The article implores us not pity health funds because their actuarial team ensures they make a profit. To look at this from another angle, would you really expect – or even want for that matter – your insurer to be making large losses? If they were haemorrhaging cash and about to fold, would you feel confident in them being able to cover you when they need to?  The vast majority of health funds are not for profit anyway, which means that profits are returned to members.

phirebate

Now, let’s discuss the concept of the policies out there to avoid tax. The article suggests that a morally responsible person should donate extra taxes to the Government in the form of the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS), rather than try to get something like a policy for their money.  The other point to note is that the Medicare Levy Surcharge contributes to Federal Government Consolidated Revenue; “roads, schools and hospitals” are actually controlled by State Governments, not the Federal Government.  In any case, if you had the choice to pay the MLS or receive a health insurance policy for the same or even less money, what would you do? Someone who earns $150,000 a year will be liable for $2,250 in extra tax payments to the government if they fail to take out a private hospital policy. You could instead choose to purchase a health insurance policy and get something in return.

 

Think of this example for instance: HCF’s Mid Plus Hospital Policy with a $500 Excess would cost you only $1,692.60 (for a Victorian Single), so you could purchase that policy, have coverage for thousands of medical procedures in a private hospital and still have cash left over.
You could even bundle an extras policy alongside your hospital policy and receive coverage for all sorts of ancillaries. Take Silver Plus Extras for instance – this will set you back (as a Victorian Single) another $450, and you will receive two free check-ups and cleans at HCF preferred provider dentists and receive no gap eyeware at HCF’s network of optical providers, in addition to a whole range of other ancillaries benefits under the policy. You also wouldn’t have to worry about the Federal Government going and spending your money on the latest poorly thought out spending spree that’s aimed at winning your vote. The best car insurance policy you ever have is one you never have to claim on. Private health insurance is the same for at least the hospital component – we would all love never needing to go to hospital. Extras at least allows you to benefit without necessarily being sick. If you focus only how much you get back from your braces, you will never be satisfied with an extras policy. But if you need dental, optical, physio, chiro and remedial massage (just to name a few!) you will probably start to see some reasonable return for your money.

 

The last point we should examine is that of waiting lists. If you choose to cancel your private health insurance policy, you should keep in mind that you cannot waltz into a public hospital when you require elective surgery and demand to be treated immediately on your terms. This is because hospitals are already overcrowded and there is a pecking order of need that dictates who is treated first. If you have a coronary emergency, you will naturally be treated before someone who has a broken wrist. But if you need an arthroscopy on your knee to repair a torn ligament, do you really want to wait around for potentially months or a year, while your quality of life suffers in the meantime? Private hospitals are there for people that can afford it, so they do not have to worry about these sorts of waiting lists. And if you can afford it, is it morally responsible to deny someone a bed in a public hospital if they are needier than you?

smallpacklg
All of these issues are thought provoking, and the important thing is to ensure that you engage appropriate levels of research, speak to a financial adviser about your financial implications, and speak to a health insurance expert to compare the policies available, before rushing to cancel your policy on the back of advice that you don’t need your policy when in all likelihood, you probably do. If you would like discuss what policies might save you money, please call us on 1300 369 399.

7 ways to maximise your Private Health Insurance Extras

It’s that time of year again, the silly season is upon us. While the focus for most people is getting their Christmas shopping sorted out, most people don’t realise that they could be leaving hundreds or thousands of dollars’ worth of Private Health Insurance extras behind.

Most Australian Private Health Insurance Extras policies operate on a calendar year basis. This means that your annual limits reset on January 1st each year. Unfortunately annual limits don’t rollover, so if you don’t use them – you lose them. We often find that many people don’t even know what extras they are covered for, let alone what their annual limits are.

Below are some commonly used extras which feature on most Private Health Insurance Extras policies.

1. Optical – Most optical retailers run end of year promotions to capitalise on those unused optical annual limits which on-average run between $150 and $300 per person per year. That could mean a new pair of prescription glasses, sunglasses or contact lenses. Tip: Even if you don’t currently require prescription eyewear, we recommend getting your eyes tested under Medicare with generally no out of pocket cost. You may find that you require prescription glasses for specific activities such as using a computer or driving – and this is a great way to utilise your extras cover.

2. Dental – Dental coverage is usually split across 3 areas listed below. If you have been holding off a visit to the dentist, now is a great time as it will save you more costly treatment in the future as well as reducing the dreaded time you spend in the dentist’s chair.

  • Preventative (Examinations, X-Rays, Scale & Cleans),
  • General (Simple Fillings and Basic Extractions)
  • Major. (Crowns, Root Canals and Multi-Surface fillings)

3. Natural Therapies – with all the stress of the holiday season, you may have any number of natural treatments that will restore your mind-body balance. Therapies such as acupuncture, remedial massage, naturopathy, and myotherapy are just a small number of natural therapies you could be using. Rebates generally start at $20 per session for basic extras cover and all the way up to 90% rebate of the treatment cost on top extras covers.

Some of the more comprehensive extras covers feature the following:

4. Lifestyle Benefits – claim on approved gym memberships and personal training costs

5. Sunglasses, swimwear, hats and sunscreen (make sure they’re Cancer Council approved)

6. Children’s Swimming lessons – utilise rebates for children’s swimming lessons just in time for the school holidays

7. Travel Vaccinations – save hundreds on travel related vaccinations before you head overseas

At Health Deal, our sales specialists can view all Australian Private Health Insurance policies and are specialists at helping you understand your level of cover and any special needs you may have.

So why not give us a call on 1300 369 399 and make sure you aren’t missing out.

4 ways to stay healthy during the festive period

It’s been 4 days since Christmas and there is no sign of any moderation to the constant flow of decadent foods and premium alcohol consumed over the festive period.  It’s an all too familiar cycle which is repeated on an annual basis.

 

It’s okay though, we have a plan. We will start our new regime of clean eating and exercise in the new year.  This allows us almost 2 weeks of guilt-free gorging knowing that every calorie being consumed will magically disappear come January 1. Once again, this is a cycle which is repeated each year.

So when January 1 comes around and we wake up with a vicious hangover,  we head straight to our local cafe which serves an all day greasy combo breakfast and then start the new year just like the previous year ended – carb loading.

Does this sound familiar?  Know someone who follows this all too familiar routine?  Well fortunately, after years of experience we have a few tips to deal with the festive period or any period for that matter where we all experience some type of diet and/or exercise blowout.

  1. Maintain some form of physical activity.   This is critical from both a mental and physical perspective.  Whilst you might not be able to accomplish your normal exercise routine, plan ahead to incorporate some well-timed physical activity to minimise the impact of upcoming festivities.   Below are some ideas to consider:
  • Get up a little earlier and go for a 30-minute power walk
  • Instead of going to the gym, do a few bodyweight exercise circuits such as push ups, burpees, squats and crunches in a circuit style fashion
  • If you have access to a swimming pool or beach – take a swim

These activities will boost your metabolism and prime your body’s natural ability to process what you consume during the course of the day.  Incorporating exercise during holiday periods will also have a beneficial impact on your self-esteem, especially if you usually normally exercise throughout the year.

2. Ditch the New Year Resolution / Fad Diet.  Being healthy is a lifestyle and should not be looked at as a temporary measure.  Sure, it is great idea to start the new year with some goals however hold off when it comes to making drastic changes to nutrition and exercise programs as you are more likely to lose motivation and feel like you are depriving yourself.  Consider the following goals:

  • Incorporate physical exercise into your routine daily
  • Aim to reduce your consumption of processed foods
  • Limit your intake of alcohol
  • Cope with stresses in your life
  • Enhance your personal relationships

3. Enjoy in moderation.  This is all about knowing your personal limits.  Im sure many of us have got out of bed following a night out and wished we didn’t have that extra glass or two of red wine.  It is important to plan ahead, think about your situation and set goals in advance.

Factors to think about include:

  • What is the duration of the event?
  • What options will be available for food and beverage?
  • If planning to consume alcohol, what are the limits?
  • How to maintain some form of discipline with food?
  • Share your goals with someone you trust (if possible)

I always try to load up on protein, which is usually in abundance during festive occasions. Protein regulates satiety which means you feel fuller for longer, so instead of going for the dips and crackers before a meal – look out for the roast chicken, beef or seafood.

4. Control your environment.  A popular online personal trainer I follow has a philosophy which really resonates with me – Control your environment, don’t let it control you.

This is all about planning ahead.  For example, if you know you have a full day of travelling ahead and limited options available to purchase healthy and nutritious food, then it makes sense to prepare some meals in advance and pack some healthy snacks in your luggage so you don’t give into temptation at the food court.

Or you might be taking a holiday to an unfamiliar destination and want to maintain your physical exercise routine.  Before you leave you do some research on local gyms and opening hours so you can schedule some workouts into your itinerary and stay on track.

We hope you find some of this information in this post helpful.  If you have any other tips you wish to share please feel free to comment below.

On behalf of the entire team at Health Deal, we wish everyone a happy and safe festive period.

Health Deal partners with SEN Radio

Health Deal is proud to announce our partnership with SEN Radio to build our brand awareness amongst their large listenership in Melbourne.

SEN1116 is a commercial radio station dedicated to 24 hour sports coverage. Based in Melbourne, SEN is the home of sport.

Our advertisements are designed to highlight why it is important to take your health seriously.

Be sure to listen in to their AFL finals coverage as well as their various shows.