Different kinds of medical health cover are appropriate at different times of life. From 30 years of age, preventative activities take on more importance â€“ such as gym memberships, massage, acupuncture and other â€œlifestyleâ€ extras. Whilst these may not be important in your 20s, including them in your health insurance premiums after 30 becomes important.
If you have not "settled down" in your twenties, the thirties is a decade when most people are likely to start thinking about a family. It is also an age at which you are better able to afford more comprehensive health cover. The health insurers are keen to get the mid-20s to 30-somethings on board as, generally speaking, they are still fairly fit and healthy.
Compulsory private cover
As well as the extras and family considerations from age 30 there is another important aspect of health cover to be aware of. Over the age of 30, the Government charges a penalty if you do not have private health insurance. Each year a person is over 30 and without private health insurance, a two percent loading is added to the eventual cost of their premium â€“ capped at a maximum of 70 percent. (People exempt from this penalty include those born before July 1, 1934.)
For more information visit http://www.privatehealth.gov.au/faq.htm, a Government website that explains this penalty system in greater detail.
Those who have purchased private health insurance before their 31st birthday, and maintain their cover, may be offered loyalty bonuses by their insurer for being a long-term customer. As well, the Australian Government rewards those who have had 10 yearsâ€™ continuous private health insurance membership with the removal of the loading.
Whatâ€™s it cost?
An average private health insurance policy, providing basic hospital cover and mid-range extras, can cost between $60 and $100 a month. Basic hospital cover often takes care of things like transportation in an ambulance, pregnancy and birth-related needs, major eye surgery and hip and knee joint replacements.
The top of the line benefit cover may include full cover for hospital accommodation, no excess on day surgery and night stays in hospital, and extras cover for optical, dental, orthodontic and chiropractic needs.
Sit down either alone or with your partner if you have one and identify your must-haves and nice-to-haves, or check back in with the Health Insurance blog to find checklists and other useful ways to reduce your bill.