We often get asked – ‘What health fund should I choose?’. Unfortunately there is no simple answer to this but hopefully the information below will help!
There are a plethora of things to consider, but we suggest doing your own research as everyone’s position is different.
First, check your tax implications. You might find that if you are earning above a certain wage – a Medicare levy will apply unless you get private health insurance. Please check with your accountant/ATO about this for more information.
Firstly, there are two kinds of private health cover – Hospital cover and Extras. Dental cover falls under Extras. Now you need to decide if it is worth for you to get extras with your private hospital cover (if you are getting it). Many patients will spend $500+ a year on extras alone. So if you are not claiming that amount back from the health insurance – it may be best to consider doing without extras and paying for your treatment.
Now, how to choose a health fund?
There are numerous health funds available now compared to before. It really pays to do your research and check some of the smaller, not-for-profit (run to benefit members) type funds. These generally tend to pay back more to you as opposed to a for-profit health fund. There are also some restricted health funds e.g. Defense Health, Teachers Health, Doctor’s Health Fund that are only for those in that profession and family members.
Health funds have an annual limit on most items. Dental items fall into Minor and Major Dental. Minor dental may include items such as general cleaning whereas major dental includes crowns and any complex treatment. For example, if you have an annual limit of $500 on Minor Dental, it doesn’t necessary mean that you will get $500 for $500 worth of treatment. This is a common misconception. You will receive a portion of the amount back from private health and your annual limit on money received will be a total of $500.
You would have heard the term ‘Preferred Providers’ by now. These practitioners aren’t chosen by any particular system. The health fund will approve some practices and not others, mainly depending on location and if the health funds itself owns a clinic nearby! It has nothing to do with any actual treatment information or skills or facilities of the practice. So it is a very complicated practice and not always best for the patient.
Lastly, beware of waiting periods and also restrictions on some “pre-existing conditions”! Always best to check these things with the health fund before switching/signing up.
There are comparison websites (google search) to help you with your search, but again, be careful as these websites never display the full range of health funds or products that are on offer!
Our last tip – most funds increase prices on April 1st every year. If you can manage to pay for the entire upcoming year in advance, you can pay at the old price! If you ever switch/cancel later, they will refund the money to you (again best to double check this!)
PS. Even if you are looking at a Health Fund to help with payments for your dental work – it may be worthwhile to consider our payment plans which may be of greater benefit (zero deposit and zero interest).