Health Insurance

Private Medical Health Insurance

One of the perks of having private health insurance is being treated as a private patient in any hospital. This usually means having your choice of doctor, hospital and treatment time.

And even better, you are likely to find that, when it comes to elective surgery (surgery for a non-life-threatening condition, like a knee reconstruction), you will have a shorter waiting period, as people with private medical insurance are given priority.

Basic Benefits

As a privately insured patient, there are attractive policy benefits (aka extras) to choose from. These can help reduce your day-to-day expenses for many common items like glasses, massage, dentistry and chiropractic treatments. Some providers also offer cover for natural therapies, although YMMV, so check your policy before assuming natural therapies are covered.

How to save money on your private healthcare?

With health insurance costs to rise an average 6% this year, families may struggle to find the extra $200 required for private health cover.

What options are there for people who want to save money in light of rising costs? Well there are a few:

  • Pay upfront – Avoid the April price increases and lock in the 2009 prices by paying your annual health insurance premium upfront. If you pay your entire 12 months upfront you lock in the prices that period, putting off the affects of an increase until next year (at which point you could lock in another 12 months) Based on the average price rise across funds / products, this could equate to a saving of 5.78% over the year (a saving of around $170 for family cover)
  • Pay by Direct Debit Many Companies offer a discount for paying premiums by Direct Debit. Nib give a 4% discount for direct debits paid from a cheque or savings account, ensuring that those who are not in the position to pay upfront can still take advantage of discounts and savings.
  • Shop Around The average price increase is 5.78%, but some of the larger organizations have only increased their prices by 5.74%, whereas some smaller Companies have increased their premiums by a whopping 7%. Always check the level of cover you are receiving and shop around for an even better deal. By combining this with the other tips above, you could be saving big time!

Private healthcare in America

In his weekly address, President Obama has urged Congress to revolve legislative issues that are delaying the health reform being signed into law in the coming weeks.

With average health insurance premiums increasing by 100% since 2000, it is no wonder many families in America are struggling to find an affordable health insurance premium under the current health system.

Obama’s Health Insurance Reform aims to improve the health system by providing more security and stability to those who have coverage, provide coverage to those without and reduce the cost of health care for families, businesses and government.

If all goes well, there will be immediate benefits soon after enactment of the bill.

These include:

  • Citizens with pre-existing illness would be able to buy affordable insurance
  • Children with pre-existing conditions would no longer be denied coverage
  • Small business owners who could not afford to cover employees would receive tax credits to buy insurance.

These benefits are due to take effect within the first year of reform. With many changes to come, President Obama aims to reach long term goals of improving America’s health system.

Health Reform Progress

Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act ensures quality health care to 11 million children

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act protects health coverage affordable for Americans who lose their jobs

Recovery Act invests over $22 billion into the areas of:

  • Reducing medical costs
  • Improve quality of health services
  • Ensure Patient Privacy by computerising medical records
  • Research into best treatment decisions
  • Training next generation of doctors
  • Promoting prevention and wellness to improve America’s health