MIND THE WAIT
You will have to serve a waiting period when you start a new policy (or increase your level of cover).
The maximum waiting periods that funds can impose for hospital treatment are: 12 months for pre-existing conditions and obstetrics (pregnancy), two months for psychiatric care, rehabilitation or palliative care (even for pre-existing conditions), and two months in all other circumstances. Waiting periods for general treatment (ancillary or extras) cover are set by individual health funds.
This is an update of an article we published last year about reducing health fund premiums.
WHAT DO WE ACTUALLY USE IT FOR?
In the year ending March 2015, private health insurance funds paid over $17.6 billion for treatments including;
$13 billion of hospital treatments ($8 billion in private hospitals)
$4.5 billion of ‘extras’ health services including; $2.3b for dental, $778m for optical, $377m for physiotherapy, $287m for chiropractic, and $174 million for natural therapies.
MORE AND MORE OF US ARE GOING PRIVATE
Back in 1999, about a third of Australians had private health insurance, but the numbers have steadily increased since then.
Now, just under half of us have private hospital cover (47.3% according to the latest figures*) and just over half have private extras, or ‘ancillary’ cover (55.6%).
* As of March 2015 according to the Private Health Insurance Administration Council.
IT’S NOT JUST LIFE INSURANCE
The duty of disclosure applies to all types of insurance.
Whether it’s your car, your house, your phone, or even your pet, you aren’t protected if you held back information that might be relevant.
If there’s a problem, find out up front, before you pay away all those premiums… rather than when it’s too late and you have a claim denied.
PLANNING TO BE AWAY?
Many policies deny cover if you don’t “maintain your home in good repair and condition” or if you leave your home unoccupied for 60 consecutive days and don’t keep it “in a lived-in state” by:
• keeping the lawns mowed and garden tidy
• stopping regular mail and newspaper deliveries, and
• organising someone to check inside and outside your home at least once a week.
THINK THEY MIGHT BE TRYING TO SCAM YOU?
If you receive a phone message that claims to be from the ATO threatening legal action, ignore it. If you are unsure, phone the ATO on 13 28 69 to check.
If you receive an unsolicited email claiming to be from the ATO, forward the entire email to ReportEmailFraud@ato.gov.au.
TYPES OF LIFE COVERLife Cover - pays nominated beneficiaries a fixed amount of money if you die.
Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Cover - covers the costs of rehabilitation, debt repayments and the future cost of living if you are totally and permanently disabled.
Trauma Cover - provides cover if you are suffer a major illnesses or injuries that will make a significant impact on a your life, (e.g. cancer or a stroke).
Income Protection Cover- replaces the income lost through your inability to work due to injury or sickness.