7 common health insurance myths busted

05 October 2017

When it comes to private health insurance, understanding what you need and what you’re paying for can be tricky. To make it even more confusing, there are dozens of health insurance myths floating around, muddying the waters. Here we debunk 7 common health insurance myths to help you know what’s what with private health insurance cover.

1. Myth: Medicare covers emergency ambulance costs 

Only residents of Tasmania and Queensland have their emergency ambulance costs covered by the state government. If you have a valid concession card or healthcare card your trip may also be covered. An emergency ambulance trip can cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. So it pays to be covered through private health insurance.

2. Myth: I’m young and healthy, so I don’t need it

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare  (AIHW) reports that injury is one of the leading causes of hospitalisation for Australians under the age of 24, with car accidents accounting for 1 in 4. So while you are young and healthy, it’s important not to be complacent. Not to mention, an unexpected accident or injury could leave you significantly out of pocket.

Accident or injury aside, there are also day-to-day reasons to have health insurance. For example, with Extras Cover you may be able to get up to 70% back on a new pair of glasses, or on that ‘regular’ check-up at the dentist.

3. Myth: Private health insurance is only for the well-off

Health insurance policies vary, from budget friendly options to more comprehensive coverage. For example, Basic Hospital cover with Suncorp Health Insurance starts from as little as $15.59 a week*, which is less than a weekly spend on coffee.

4. Myth: Health insurance is the solution for all health-related problems

It’s important to do your research when signing up for health insurance, particularly if you’re hoping to get coverage for a specific issue, as coverage can vary between different providers and different policies. If you are getting health insurance to cover a certain service or health issue, you may not be able to claim from day one, as there may be waiting periods that apply before you can claim. If you’re switching from one health fund to another you won’t have to re-serve waiting periods for comparable services.

5. Myth: I can get cover for cosmetic surgery

This myth isn’t a total bust—some cosmetic procedures considered medically necessary may be covered, like a skin graft for example. However, elective cosmetic surgeries are generally not covered, so if you’re thinking of getting cosmetic rhinoplasty (a ‘nose job’) or breast augmentation, you’re probably going to face some hefty out-of-pocket expenses.

6. Myth: Health insurance is ‘set-and-forget’

As we get older our needs change and so it is with health insurance. You might’ve signed up to your current policy in your mid-twenties, when all you needed was extras cover for a check-up at the dentist. Five years on and your life has probably changed a fair bit. For one, you may need Hospital Cover to avoid the Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading, which applies from 1 July following your 31st birthday. You might also be considering starting a family, so you’ll need to factor waiting periods into your decision. Every year on the 1st of April health funds change their premiums, this is a great time to give your Health Insurance policy a once-over to see if it’s still the right fit.

Thinking about switching health insurers? When you switch to Suncorp Health Insurance we handle the paperwork and you won’t have to re-serve waiting periods for comparable services.

7. Myth: You must get private health insurance to avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge 

The Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) is levied on Australian taxpayers who don’t have an appropriate level of private hospital insurance and earn above a certain income. The MLS will only be applied to you if you earn $93,000 and above for singles, or $186,000 and above for families.

Regularly reviewing, and comparing, private health insurance levels of cover is the best way to ensure that you’re paying for what you need, rather than something you don’t. Compare Hospital Cover  and Extras Cover  to get the full picture of what’s available. 

If you have any questions you can get in touch with a Suncorp Health Insurance specialist by calling 13 11 55 (Mon-Fri 8am-8pm & Sat 9am-1pm AEST/AEDT).

* Price based on a single living in Qld, Australian Government Rebate for singles aged <65 with income of <$93,000, 4% direct debit discount, $500 hospital excess p/a. Excludes Lifetime Health Cover loading.

Suncorp Health Insurance is issued by nib health funds limited ABN 83 000 124 381 (nib), a registered private health insurer, and is marketed by Platform CoVentures Pty Ltd ABN 82 626 829 623 (PC), a Suncorp Group company. PC is an authorised agent of nib and receives commission from nib. 

Information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs. You should make your own enquiries, consider whether advice is appropriate for you and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or Product Information Document before making any decisions about whether to acquire a product.

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