Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw was once quoted as saying "Youth is the most beautiful thing in this world – and what a pity that it has to be wasted on the children". This phrase has now entered common parlance, though a little more concisely: "Youth is wasted on the young". There might be a certain truth to it too, but it is perhaps more telling of the power of hindsight rather than the behaviour of young Australians.
But the fact is, when you're young, it can sometimes feel like you are invincible. Illness and injury are things that happen to other people, and the infrequent visits to the doctor are considered an irritating chore rather than a necessity for your wellbeing. It's easy to put health insurance on the backburner in this position, thinking of it as an extra expense you don't need to concern yourself with.
In reality, health issues can affect anyone, even the young – in fact, there are some problems that affect the young most of all, some of which could be severe without private health insurance. There are plenty of reasons why young Australians should be keeping on top of their health insurance: Here are just three of them.
Almost half of those hospitalised between the ages of 12 and 24 were injured as a result of sport activities.
Exercise is one of the keys to staying healthy, and it appears that Australia as a whole is starting to learn that. The latest physical activity index from Medibank shows the number of people who jog for exercise has increased from 12.1 per cent to 21.5 per cent over the last nine years. Meanwhile, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that about 60 per cent of the population engages in some form of sport or physical recreation at least once a year.
However, these sports can result in serious injury. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare recorded that almost half of those hospitalised between the ages of 12 and 24 were injured as a result of sport activities in 2008. Should an injury occur that needs ongoing medical care, a quality private health insurance policy can provide the necessary benefits.
Arthritis is one of those issues that people think only affect the older segments of the population. However, Medibank has found that it has been discovered in younger Australians more and more over the last few years. You are now twice as likely to suffer from osteoarthritis as a member of Generation Y than you were in 2007.
Increased obesity rates, repetitive strain injuries and incorrect techniques during exercise are mostly to blame, according to Medibank. Chronic arthritis can put a serious dent in your ability to function in everyday life, and it is likely to only get worse without the right treatment while still young.
Catching this kind of issue early can dramatically increase survival rates.
Cancer is a constant threat in Australia, regardless of your age. From 2003 to 2007, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare recorded that there was an average of five young Australians diagnosed with cancer every day, with the most common of these being melanoma.
However, there is some good news. Catching this kind of issue early can dramatically increase survival rates. From 2004 to 2010, young Australians with cancer had an 88 per cent chance of living five years after diagnosis. Private health insurance makes it that much easier for young Aussies to nip the issue in the bud before the cancer can fester.
Making sure you have lifetime health insurance could be the difference between debilitating injury and complete recovery. If you're a young Australian and want to make sure you are completely covered, or want to put your child on your current health plan, give HICA a call on 1300 44 22 01 and let us help you find the plan that is right for you.