5 Health Insurance Myths That Could Cost Your Family Money
There’s a lot of confusion where health insurance is concerned and many people don’t really understand how it all works.
If you’re one of these people, it could mean that your family is paying too much for their health care – either for health insurance or out of pocket costs.
In this guest post, we’re unpicking some of the false ideas that people often believe about health insurance and why it can have a detrimental impact on your family’s finances.
1) Medicare covers us for everything
This is one of the biggest myths for not buying health insurance and it’s one of the most costly misconceptions.
The Medicare system is great but it doesn’t cover everything your family could need. Out of hospital services aren’t included so paying for things like dental treatment, vision correction and physiotherapy will have to come out of your own pocket if you don’t have Extras health insurance – and this could get costly if your family needs to use these kind of services a fair bit in the average year.
2) We can’t afford health insurance
Maybe you know the limits of Medicare but you still don’t feel that health insurance is worth paying for?
The rising cost of health insurance premiums means that many families are dropping their cover or significantly downgrading it to cut costs. While this might help you to save some money in the short term, it can be short sighted if you look at the bigger picture and how much it may potentially cost you if things go wrong.
Even if you’re all fit and healthy at the moment, there’s no guarantee that it will stay this way unfortunately. Accidents and illnesses can happen when you least expect them and elective surgery that isn’t deemed urgent can take months if there’s a long waiting list in the public hospital system.
And for higher income families, it can sometimes be less expensive to buy Hospital cover rather than pay for Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS).
3) Ambulance cover is always included
If you live in QLD or TAS, you don’t need to worry about arranging ambulance cover. If you live elsewhere in Australia, it is something you need to think about as the cost of an ambulance ride can be eye watering. Some health funds include emergency ambulance cover in their policies but this isn’t always the case.
4) The cover we have now will always be right for us
As your family gets older, your health needs are likely to change too. If you stick with the same policy, you’ll probably find that you’re not covered for things that you need while also paying for services that you no longer have any use for. You may find that a child needs braces as they near their teens, for example. This is why it’s important to review your family’s health needs and your health insurance policy on a regular basis to make sure that your cover is working for you. And even if you’re needs don’t change too much, don’t be afraid to shop around and compare policies to see if you can get the same kind of cover with another health fund.
5) We’re stuck with the health fund we already have
For those of you who already have health insurance, you have the freedom to take your custom to another health fund without it affecting waiting periods that you’ve already served. Many people don’t realise this and are afraid to switch health funds because they mistakenly believe that they’ll have to serve waiting periods again if they do this.
If you’re moving to equivalent cover elsewhere, portability rules mean that you won’t have to wait it out with your new health fund – provided that you served the waiting period in full beforehand. If you didn’t, you’ll have to finish doing this first before you’re covered. You’ll only have to serve new waiting periods if you upgrade your cover (and haven’t served waiting periods for a particular service) and this is true whether you switch or stay put.
Did you believe some of these health insurance myths? And have you made any mistakes by falling for them?
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