Selecting Health Insurance Features
Selecting a health insurance plan can seem a little daunting at first, but here at Choosi we'll show you how to make the process simple and uncomplicated.
Choosing hospital cover
When it comes to choosing hospital cover, the *Australian Government has a standard list of features, and all health funds are required to disclose whether these features are covered in their health insurance policies.
These features are:
• hospital accommodation,
• theatre fees,
• intensive care,
• drugs, dressings and other consumables,
• prostheses (surgically implanted),
• diagnostic tests,
• pharmaceuticals, and
• any additional doctor's fees.
Ref: (Private Health Insurance Ombudsman, http://www.privatehealth.gov.au/healthinsurance/whatiscovered/default.htm,
accessed 15 Dec 2012)
There are many other features and procedures that hospital plans cover, including things like broken limbs or cancers, however these are just the features that health funds are required to disclose coverage for in their Standard Information Sheets.
There are, however, some features that certain health insurance plans don't cover that aren't part of the list, like gastric banding procedures. If you know what procedures you're interested in getting cover for that aren't part of the list, you should check what plans include the procedures you want.
Remember there are waiting periods of up to 12 months for some of these features, including for any pre-existing conditions, so even if you don't think you need cover right now it's best to think of the features you may need ahead of time, choose the right plan and ensure your health insurance is in place for when you need it.
To get the best value from your hospital cover, select the features you want fully covered under your health plan, then compare the hospital plans that give you full cover for those features from the available health funds and decide which one is right for you.
Choosing extras cover
Extras cover is different to hospital cover, as it provides benefits towards treatments that don't take place in hospital.
All health funds have an identical list of extras features that you can get cover for. These features are:
most dental examinations and treatment,
most physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, eye therapy, chiropractic services, podiatry or psychology services,
acupuncture (unless part of a doctor's consultation),
glasses and contact lenses,
hearing aids and other appliances
With extras features, you can select a plan that offers higher or lower benefits for the features you select. For example, Extras Plan A and Extras Plan B may both offer cover for the same features, but Plan A may be more expensive because the benefits for those features are higher than Plan B. Eg, Plan A may offer unlimited dental benefits whereas Plan B caps dental benefits at $500.
To get the best value from your extras cover, Select the features you want benefits for, and then check what benefits you can expect from your extras policy so you'll know what you're entitled to ahead of time.