Turning 31 in 4 Months Should I Get Private Health Insurance??

So I am turning 31 in April is it worth getting private health insurance?

I work for myself and earn around 35k per year.

No health prior health probs.

If you think I should I am open to any suggestions of plans or companies. I would like cover for my chiro visits (please don't comment your opinion on chiros, I can see that coming already haha)

Thanks!!

Comments

    • +6 votes

      Yeah nah

    • +12 votes

      "Nah" comment is spot on. Do consider ambulance cover though. Victoria has the most expensive ambulances in Australia. One trip will cost you at least $1,265. Even if you refuse the trip you will still be charged $546. No consideration will be given as to who called the ambulance and the only way you will be able to recover the money without insurance is through the Transport Accident Commission or civil liability. Claims through workers compensation are possible but apparently quite tricky.

      https://www.ambulance.vic.gov.au/membership/ - less than $50 a year!

      •  

        No consideration will be given as to who called the ambulance

        Is this for real? Seems like quite a game-able situation..

        •  

          Is this for real? Seems like quite a game-able situation..

          "Anyone guilty of the improper use of an emergency call service will face a maximum penalty of up to 3-years imprisonment under section 474.18(1) Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)." [1]

          I'm guessing if someone did call you an ambulance purely for the lulz (e.g. while you were sleeping) there would be no fee for you but the caller (assuming they could be identified) might get into trouble. In situations where you don't need an ambulance you can also walk away or refuse treatment (as technically the fee is for "Treatment without Transport") but usually patients aren't in a position to do this (that's why the ambulance was called).

          [1] https://www.criminaldefencelawyers.com.au/blog/what-is-the-l...

      •  

        Thanks for reminding me to get ambulance cover.

        Does the price go up every year?

        Hence is it better to get a 2 or 3yr plan now or just renew every year?

      •  

        Yup, do this.
        Between Ambulance cover and our Medicare system you should avoid out of pocket emergencies.

        Copped an ambulance ride off Hotham one time.
        Left with a Xray and not the $5K fee by two ambulances over an hour long trip.

  • +18 votes

    No

  • +15 votes

    No

  • +14 votes

    No

  • +13 votes

    Nope…eat healthy…keep doing physical activities/sports etc…

  • +67 votes

    Private health insurance is a borderline scam if you look at the cost and how much of the benefits you actually get. If it weren't required to avoid the medicare levy surcharge for those on a higher salary (90k or so), even fewer people would have it.

    • +3 votes

      This.

      • -2 votes

        And many doesnt know we entitle to holiday period (not having hospital after 30yo)

    • +3 votes

      So if one is earning more than 90k, is it advisable to have private health care?

      • +12 votes

        Broadly speaking, yes. You pay 1% Medicare levy surcharge on a salary of $90k to $105k. So if you can get private health cover for under $900 you are saving money.

        •  

          Does it take total salary for families?

          • +3 votes

            @Gaggy: Combined income for families (i.e. 180k+).

            • +1 vote

              @Munki: Thanks. Which means if 1 person in family is earning 100k, but combined salary is under 180k, they don't need to pay levy.

              • +3 votes

                @Gaggy: You still have to pay the levy, just not the surcharge.

                •  

                  @Munki: What if i earn below 90k, but combined salary over 180k? If my partner has private health, do I need to get one too since our combined is 180k+? Sorry, I know I can google this but I've tried reading about it and it doesn't make sense for me.

                  • +2 votes

                    @azngamer: (assuming your partner is your spouse)

                    Everybody has to pay the levy, and people are liable for the surcharge based on the answer to the question "did you have a spouse" and their income

                    • spouse=no, individual income > 90K
                    • spouse=yes, combined income > 180k

                    You and your spouse are assessed on whether the surcharge applies as a couple, but are taxed on separate incomes - the surcharge amount you each pay will depend on if you individually have health cover, and will be based on your individual income.

                    Since you won't be exempted from the levy, then work out whether it's cheaper to pay the surcharge on your income, or get cover for yourself and pay no surcharge.

                    •  

                      @wendellX: Thanks, that's perfectly clear now. My partner is not my spouse yet. Getting married next year. I was under the impression that I can choose to be grouped or not grouped.

                      "You and your spouse are assessed on whether the surcharge applies as a couple, but are taxed on separate incomes - the surcharge amount you each pay will depend on if you individually have health cover, and will be based on your individual income."

                      That clicked for me and made complete sense. Thank you.

                      • +2 votes

                        @azngamer: No worries. FYI in case you didn't realise; for ATO purposes a spouse includes de facto, not just married i.e. another person (of any sex) who:

                        • you were in a relationship with that was registered under a prescribed state or territory law
                        • although not legally married to you, lived with you on a genuine domestic basis in a relationship as a couple.

                        If you guys are engaged and living together, you're probably already each others spouse.

                        https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Tax-return/2019/Tax-retur...

                        •  

                          @wendellX: Did not realise that, looks like I'll have look into the cost of private health and how much the surcharge would cost. Any recommendation with a cheap private health for tax purpose? I'm healthy with no medical condition except for myopia, but I change my glasses every few years so I dont need those benefits anyway.

              • +3 votes

                @Gaggy: Levy is mandatory for everyone

    • +3 votes

      Well said

    • +3 votes

      This comment can't be emphasized highly enough.

  • +11 votes

    If you earn $35k, no, don't worry about it.

    If you want cover for chiro, you would need extras (not hospital), but that won't work out to be financially advantageous anyway.

  • +55 votes

    The Australian Government has (profanity) everybody in this country by privatising health care. The way this works is the for profit businesses attempt to insure every person that has no need for health insurance while attempting to not insure everybody who does require it.

    You can look forward to something like the American model. The number one cause of personal bankruptcies in the USA is health care costs including people who paid health insurance for their entire lives (they are left to die after their last wealth is extracted) and 30 million people recieve no health at all.

    • +10 votes

      Long way to go before we get to the US's way of things,let's hope it doesn't happen. It's unbelievable how expensive healthcare is over there. Pure insanity.

      • +17 votes

        If the Libs stay in power long enough it'll happen.

        •  

          I've heard the horror stories, seen invoices for 2 x Ibuprofen pills for $60 each at an ER room, etc.

          People in the FIRE community there (financially independent) are still working a few days per week just to keep their healthcare.

          Got a link to where I can read about the Libs planning this?

          • +6 votes

            @idonotknowwhy:

            Got a link to where I can read about the Libs planning this?

            They have no current specific plans directly along the line of "Americanisation of healthcare". They remember that when they tried to introduce a "co-payment" for GP visits, they got absolutely slammed… For now.

            Removing/privatising public services is clearly within their ideological 'church' though, so it's possible they would move in this direction again if the circumstances are appropriate.

            I quote their beliefs:

            we work towards a lean government that minimises interference in our daily lives; and maximises individual and private sector initiative

    • -3 votes

      The way this works is the for profit businesses attempt to insure every person that has no need for health insurance while attempting to not insure everybody who does require it.

      This is actually (mostly) how insurance works. If you ignore insurance and look at it through the tax system, young people who do not use health services but pay taxes are paying for old people who do not pay taxes but receive the benefits.

      • +7 votes

        … after they have paid taxes throughout their working lives…

      • +3 votes

        The idea that tax is a funding source for anything is a terrible misunderstanding of how fiat currency works… Tax is a black hole the government uses to make money disappear from the economy. The government has a mandate to allow RBA to print money whenever it needs any. It cannot go bankrupt in its own currency.

        Debt and deficits grow an economy

        Surplus shrinks an economy

        The accountants have made a right mess of how everyone thinks of budgets .. The government is not a business .. it does not have a P&L statement!!

        • +1 vote

          Well, yes, if you want to think of it that way. In that way of thinking, after taking into account the lag, spending and creating government debt devalues the currency, and taxing [and black holing it] re-values the currency. If you don't balance the tax with the spending then you still have effects which are generally regarded as negative over the long term (excess inflation, poor borrowing power, excessive bond return rates).

          The real problem is that people have been trained to think that the government is a business, and that it should run at a profit (surplus). I like to remind people that the government is there to serve the people (in theory) and that tax is the money that is used to serve the people. When there's a surplus it means that overall, the people paid more in tax than they received back in services. If you want to think of the government as a business then you should think of yourself as the customer, and as a customer you want to get the most value from the business while it just breaks even.

        •  

          Nobody in government is an accountant. Plus accountants do what their masters tell them to do.

      • +2 votes

        young people who do not use health services but pay taxes are paying for old people who do not pay taxes but receive the benefits.

        Young people eventually become old people and no longer pay taxes but will start using the benefits which will at that point be paid by young people.

        It's a cycle of pay it forward, and it's a good system except to those who die young (pay the taxes but don't get anything back) and migrants who enter the country at an older age (get the benefits but didn't pay for it earlier).

      •  

        No, this is completely wrong. Generally insurance considers risk, so old people (high risk) should pay a lot more than young people (low risk). However, PHI in Australia is more like a single-payer health fund, which takes out a lot of corporate profit on top.

        Really, it should have all government funding removed as the whole scam was set up by John Howard to funnel taxpayer money to his mates.

    • +3 votes

      From what i have been told of the system, really the private health system and the government insisting on making everyone go on it or get taxed higher, is just a form of redirecting the populations cash into the pockets of private health companies. The benefits you get back for that money are far less than what you pay everyone (including the public health system) would be far better off if there was no private health and the money we put into private health now is directed into the public health system.

      Whenever i have had any ailments or injuries etc, the amount of money i get to claim back is so little compared to the full cost of the procedures.

  • +7 votes

    Make sure you have Ambulance Cover either directly or
    through getting Extras without Hospital Cover.

    Saver Options through HIF covers Emergency Ambulance and some Chiropractic and other Extras.

    Use the Promo code "HIF50" for a $50 Cashcard when you join.
    https://www.hif.com.au/news/promotion

    •  

      If you look more into Ambulance cover with PHI, the level of cover will be limited in comparison to Ambulance cover via your state

      •  

        Yep, looks like they're in Vic, it costs me $12.09 per quarter for singles cover, well worth it for peace of mind.

  • +3 votes

    We only have it for extras (eyes and dental, being the main use). The cost of those two items if we didn’t have it, would be a lot higher than the monthly cost. We also use it to avoid the surcharge.

    Other than the above, I would say it’s a scam… if you in an accident whether you have private or public you would go straight through.

    • +2 votes

      We also use it to avoid the surcharge.

      I thought you need hospital to avoid surcharge?

    •  

      You pay more in premiums than you can get back though?

      • +1 vote

        It depends on what you use it for, if you use it for dental check ups, dental work when you need it, optical and if you use some other services you could definitely get back more than what you pay. Extras is not really worth having unless you know you are going to claim more than you pay, a lot of people get it with their hospital cover because they might use it but rarely do, which is where money is made on extras. For me it's not worth it because I only need dental check ups, no optical or other services, no actual dental work.

    • +1 vote

      check your policy asap, because you ain't avoiding any surcharge with extras only.

  •  

    Not much point with your salary.

  • +11 votes

    Everyone's circumstances are different so there's no definitive correct answer on this, but this article does a great job in explaining the Lifetime Health Cover and why it's a bad deal for consumers:

    https://archive.is/43s0D

    "Don't be fooled by the private health insurance industry's pitch to 30-year-olds" From The Age.

    "The fact is most 30-year-olds are financially better off not buying private health insurance even if it means paying more down the track.
    The arithmetic is straightforward. Take an average premium of $1200 a year for a single person with basic hospital cover and excess of $250.
    If you pay $1200 a year from age 30 to 40, you've forked out $12,000. If instead you stay in the public system until age 40 and then take up private health insurance, the 20 per cent loading means you'll cough up $1440 a year.
    After another decade, the person who took private health insurance at age 30 would have paid a total of $24,000, while the person who took it at age 40 would have paid just $14,400."

    • +4 votes

      yeh the loading confuses/ scares ppl

      Private health insurance is important if you have pre existing conditions that make surgery a probable event, rather than an unlucky event… and it's not something that'd rate highly on the urgency list/ Medicare hasn't yet caught up with technology/ you have a specific surgeon in mind.

      Even then, I forking hate it. it is a scam and barely covers sh!t all.

    • -2 votes

      doesn't take into account medicare levy

    • +1 vote

      Another way of looking at it: does paying 100% this year to save 2% next year make any sense to you?

  • +19 votes

    If you're not going to earn above 90k in the next few years, I wouldn't bother.

    Let the boomers pay for their own health in their cushy private hospitals without leeching off the younger generation

  • +2 votes

    Wait until you’re 34 to not pay the smth smth loading thing
    https://www.doineedhealthinsurance.com.au/

  • +1 vote

    I wish I could remember when I was 31.

  • +1 vote

    No just use that money to have fun holidaying and spending time with your family.

  • +1 vote

    Thanks everyone!! Still surprised I haven't got any comments on chiros :)

    It seems that they make this quite an issue but also make it hard to find information on the benefits/ drawbacks

    • +13 votes

      Cairo is in Egypt.

    • +10 votes

      Because if you regularly use chiros then you probably aren't the advice-taking sort ;)

    • +4 votes

      Still surprised I haven't got any comments on chiros

      That's because Chiropractic is an alternative medicine and there is no evidence that it works. Chiropractic deals mostly with muscle and skeletal manupulation, and is probably effective in that regard - but you might as well go to a physiotherapist, since that is an evidence-based medical science. Not saying that all chiropractors are bad, but some do claim they can cure autism, infections, asthma etc. - there is no evidence this works at all.

    •  

      Compared to chiros, PHI isn't that much of a scam.

      Generally, if you have a pre-existing chronic health condition PHI is worth it, because the public system virtually doesn't exist for chronic illnesses. Otherwise, not worth it.

  •  

    The word is "insurance"…. NO don't do it. It is all a con.
    Just get "personal insurance" that covers you being injured, sick, and loss of wages, etc.
    Think about it - 31 to 65… it is all a con.

  •  

    Dont bother. The current system is a mess and will likely be overhauled by the Cth Govt in the coming years. You don't earn enough anyway.

  •  

    Screw private health insurance, this ain't US

  • +1 vote
    1. Do you think you'll ever earn more than 90k?
    2. Do you think you'll ever want PHI when you get older?
    3. Make sure you've some sort of ambulance cover
    4. Even healthy people can have accidents
    5. Extras can be worthwhile if you already use those services regularly
    6. PHI is useful when you have non-life threatening ailment that impairs your quality of life - as you might have to wait a very long time to get the same surgery in the public system
    • +1 vote

      I'm not denying that there isn't a benefit of private health for some parts of the population

      But the money government spends on PHI in subsidies could be so much better spent on improving Medicare funding for everybody, not just those paying premiums. Judging from social media sentiment, many Australians feel this way too.

      •  

        Totally agree with you there. Would much rather have the UK system than the American system. However, we can only make the best decision for our own circumstance under the system we've got at the moment.

        I've developed an appreciation for PHI (as opposed to just getting a policy to avoid the surcharge and loading) with the following experience:

        • PHI covering a surgery after an injury which I might have to wait forever, if at all, to get it treated in the public system. I got the surgery done in the afternoon of my initial consultation with the surgeon (which is supposedly one of the best available for that part of the anatomy in Sydney) - lucky I had accident cover under that policy

        • requiring an investigative procedure done that wasn't covered by the PHI policy I had at the time. I ended up waiting just over a year to get it done publicly (upgraded to a PHI policy that covered it but didn't end up getting it done privately as I received my appointment during the 12 month waiting period) but I could probably have that same procedure done within weeks if it was covered by my PHI policy

        • needing filling done when I didn't have any extras cover (before I was old enough and earned enough to justify getting PHI)

        • getting most of, if not more than, what I pay for the extra cover back each year

        Having said that, I'd still go public for any big ticket, life-threatening items (say, if I had cancer or a heart problem) as the out of pocket cost for private treatment would probably be astronomical and I'd still get timely and professional treatment in a public hospital.

        •  

          Yeah that's along the lines I was thinking of where you benefit from PHI.

          A question though..

          How many years of annual premiums do you need to pay to get the claim benefit of a PH hip replacement or knee surgery for example?

  •  

    Don't bother with the extras. If you are going to visit the chiropractor regularly, you will reach your limit very quickly, and the benefit won't pay for the cost of the policy. As for hospital, it depends on your situation whether it would be worth it. If you are planning on having children, it might be worth it depending on what facilities are nearby. If you are in a regional area, most private hospitals don't provide obstetric services anyway, but acomplicated pregnancy could make insurance worth having. My wifes complicated pregnancies would have cost probably $400000-$500000 without insurance (In a private hospital)

    • +3 votes

      My wifes complicated pregnancies would have cost probably $400000-$500000 without insurance (In a private hospital)

      This could have been free in a public hospital though. And if you have a complex birth/emergency during birth in a private, they might have to send you to a public if they don't have someone specialised enough in the private hospital.

    • +3 votes

      We had private cover… As soon as my wife's pregnancy became life threatening they shipped us to the nearest public hospital with both pregnancies.

  •  

    depends

    if you're going to buy the cheapest private insurance with the lowest cover- then not really worth it except maybe for tendon tears/ muscle injuries etc if you do a lot of sports etc may consider it.

    Otherwise you need to at least buy medium-high cover to cover most things.

    Overall if you dont do much,prob not.

  •  

    only thing I can think of out the bat, is that after 30 you get slapped with an 2% LHC loading on top of your premium for every year you are aged over 30, if you decide to take out hospital cover later in life. But then we must look at the advantages of your income and needs, I reckon majority of people don't need it, probably consider extras cover if you in for optical, dental etc.

  •  

    When you have another 0 on your annual income then yes, otherwise forget about it. Waste of money.

    EDIT: oops i forgot the 180K is for household income. But still your income is still far off from the reasonable amount that get tax benefit from PHI.

  • -2 votes

    I just got slugged $5k Medicare levy from the ATO for not having it so it depends on your financial circumstances

  • +5 votes

    These laws essentially forcing people to buy PHI regardless of their actual condition or usage is such a joke on this country. I mean a Medicare levy and surcharge is one thing, then they throw on this BS over-30 loading rule.

    /end rant

    I wouldn't be so cynical if it wasn't for the fact so many people I know with it finally had that "unexpected event" insurance is meant to cover, only to basically get slugged thousands for it anyway.

  •  

    I turned 31 this year and had to sign up to it for tax purposes, so I bought a cheap hospital cover plan.

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