Having children will most likely well acquaint you with doctors, dentists, optometrists and the odd hospital visit. Given the lifestyles that children lead, it makes sense to investigate how private health insurance can work for you and your family. As a mother and/or the primary caregiver, you’ll attend the bulk of these appointments so it makes sense that you should be informed about how health funds can meet your needs.
Firstly, because not all households are the same, there are various types of private health memberships to suit families. These range from coverage for two adult households with children, to single parents with children, to dependants (children) only policies. Best value is to select a fund that considers your child a dependant until they are 24 years old, provided they are a student.
Another cost saving tip for families and individuals alike is to check your eligibility for a restricted membership organisation as certain professions, associations or unions may make you eligible for them. They often offer more competitive premiums as do the not-for-profit funds that most of the general public can access. Furthermore, if you’re budget conscious and are looking for private health cover in the longer term, take it put before you are 30 years old. If you don’t, there’ll be an additional 2% that you’ll have to pay (capped at 70%) for every year after the 1st July following your 31st birthday. Loading can be removed, but only after 10 years of continuous cover. At a minimum therefore, ensure your policy includes private hospital cover in order to avoid lifetime health cover loading.
Another feature for families to seek out, is health funds that charge no excess for children’s hospital admissions. Therefore, you can set a higher excess if you wish in order to reduce your monthly premiums, but will only pay it if you or your partner is admitted to hospital as a private patient. This is great for common childhood procedures such as tonsillectomies and tympanostomies (grommet insertions) and you can reduce costs further by attending hospitals that your fund has agreements with.
Even if you select a high level of hospital cover, note that elective cosmetic surgery like a liposuction procedure, is unlikely to be covered. If you do have a medical condition that necessitates reconstructive plastic surgery, some services may be covered, while others will only be to a certain extent. Other funds have rules for cosmetic surgeries such as only providing a rebate for procedures that Medicare also pays a benefit. For children, in instances of congenital abnormalities and injuries such as burns, there are some funds that will provide cover for reconstructive plastic surgery, but make sure to read the fine print to see what will be covered under each individual policy.
Once you have shopped around for an adequate level of cover, don’t forget that as a family you have a higher income threshold for the Medicare Levy; it could be reduced or removed for your family subject to eligibility.