There’s a number of reasons why private hospital insurance may be a better option than relying solely on the public system, the most important one being that your policy allows you to choose your own hospital and doctor. HIF currently covers more than 1300 private hospitals across the country and we also have a medical gap arrangement in place with the Australian Health Service Alliance (AHSA) called AccessGap, which minimises gaps and other out-of-pocket costs for our members wherever possible.
Also, while you’ll of course receive immediate treatment or surgery for urgent/life threatening conditions through the public system, another benefit of having private hospital cover is that you’ll have a much shorter waiting time for any elective surgeries that you may need in the future. For example, a 2014-15 report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that patients in NSW needing a knee replacement waited an average of six months in the public system, and of the total number of public patients in NSW that underwent knee surgery that year, 6.6% of them waited over 12 months for their elective surgery.
In comparison, private hospital insurance reduces wait times significantly and you can even choose your own specialist for additional peace of mind. Having private hospital cover also enables you to choose your own surgery date, while in the public system there’s a risk you could be bumped if another patient needs treatment more urgently than you.
Since 2000, the Federal Government has also introduced a number of incentives for holding private hospital cover, such as the health insurance rebate and the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) tax break plus financial penalties like the Lifetime Health Cover age loading if you don’t hold hospital cover by the time you turn 31. Having said that, the rebate and MLS thresholds became means-tested in 2012 which subsequently added even more pressure to the public system (due to some people dropping their private cover as a result), therefore leading to even longer waiting times in the public system.
Cover yourself for a little Extra with HIF.
In addition to private hospital cover, we also offer a range of “Extras” cover options (sometimes referred to as “ancillary” or “general treatment”). These products cover those more common, everyday services such as dental, chiro, physio, osteo, optical and more, plus appliances like hearing aids, blood glucose monitors and nebulisers, should you ever need them in the future.
With HIF Extras cover, you’re even covered for ambulance transport, plus ‘healthy lifestyle’ type services such as gym memberships, exercise physiology, quit smoking programs and cancer screenings. Check out our Extras Cover comparison table for full details of all our benefits.