Understanding your private health insurance has long been a significant headache for Australians. Figuring out what you are covered for and, perhaps more importantly, what you aren't, can be a complex and time-consuming business for the average consumer.
With over 40,000 different kinds of private health cover available in Australia, it is understandable why it has become an important arena for the upcoming election.
As a result of the growing demand for simplified policies and simple-English explanations, the current Coalition government has put accessibility in health insurance in its sights.
Breaking it down
About 70 per cent of Australians had considered switching their policy in the last 12 months.
According to a survey from the Coalition, about 70 per cent of Australians have considered switching their policy in the last 12 months, but many found it too difficult. In fact, nearly half of all respondents said their inability to understand and compare their health insurance policies was in their top three concerns.
As a result of this, Health Minister Sussan Ley has suggested a new system of classifying health insurance – using the terms gold, silver and bronze in order to make it that much clearer exactly what the average consumer is getting with a given policy. Other recommendations included a mandated minimum level of cover to eliminate junk policies, creating standard definitions of medical procedures across insurers and simplifying billing to defeat 'bill shock'.
Put it on your bill
However, the new system may not be quite as simple as it seems. Rachel David, CEO of Private Healthcare Australia, said in an interview with 2UE that "we need to remember that medical out-of-pocket costs are not determined by the health funds, they're determined by the doctor".
While it is posited that gold-level private health insurance would cover you significantly more than bronze-level cover, consumers would still need to seek advice on what their out-of-pocket costs could be, if there are any at all.
For the time being, however, there are still plenty of ways an average consumer can compare the multitude of health insurance products available without needing to be an expert themselves. If you have been having trouble with understanding your private health insurance, feel free to get into contact with the experts at HICA on 1300 44 22 01 and find out how we can help you get the lifetime health cover that you need.