Private Health Insurance

Curious to know how many people with families here have private health insurance ( hospital and extras ) . I have a wife and 2 kids and we are currently paying around 3500$ a year.

It seems a like a real waste especially since we only use dental and optical every year.

Just curious to know if there are families out there who just rely on public health and what their experience is like .


  • +4

    Unless you use all the extras, get hospital only.

    I've used and worked in both. If it is anything serious, you'll be covered by medicare and treated by a resident at least. You won't get to request a specific doctor but doctors who make it to specialty residency or above are usually competent.

    The main downsides in public are - slightly not as good bedside manners (less time per patient but not always) and they serve you these hard cheeses as if they're food. Soft cheeses are reserved for paying customers.

    Oh, and I think the janitors spray urine scent in public wards. They use lavender in private.

    • +1

      The main downsides in public are - slightly not as good bedside manners (less time per patient but not always) and they serve you these hard cheeses as if they're food. Soft cheeses are reserved for paying customers.

      My recent experience in public was actually quite good. I was pleasantly surprised. I didn't even notice whether I had soft or hard cheese and even if I did, it wouldn't bother me at all. What I would like to know is, in private, are they more gentle with the catheter removal? LOL

      • +1

        are they more gentle with the catheter removal?

        In public, you don't have a choice - fast.

        In private, we give you several choices - fast, fast and jerky, slow and jerky and surprise! style where you're surprised, we are surprised and just a whole lot of screaming all around. Jolly good fun.

        • +1

          In public, you don't have a choice - fast

          You're definitely not wrong there! They were fast, alright! I don't know how to describe how it felt, but for a couple of days after, I found myself subconciously checking to make sure everything was still there!

          In private, we give you several choices - fast, fast and jerky, slow and jerky and surprise!

          What? You're telling me that for the amount that one has to pay to be in private, there's no "happy" option? :p~

          • +1


            They were fast, alright!… subconciously checking to make sure everything was still there!

            Don't worry, after lots of trial and error, we no longer used barbed catheters.

            there's no "happy" option?

            There is. Falls under "Surprise!". The screams if heard down the hall in geriatrics puts a smile on those sadistic oldies' faces.

            • @tshow: aah… I think I'll just tie a rubber band around it before I go into surgery next time! LOL

  • +3

    I can't speak from a family point of view but i refuse to take out any private health unless it works out cheaper via the tax offset.
    Not a big fan of paying twice for health insurance when medicare already covers it. However given you are a family, i do know costs for kids (dental, optical etc.) can be quite significant, might be best to do a cost analysis to see if it is worth it.

    Personally it's a tale of dwindling returns as more people leave, the premiums for those that remain go up. It's largely a transfer of money from those that don't need the service to those that do i.e. pensioners etc. Given that i'm currently saving up for a house i don't believe subsidizing the health of those who have $1 million+ homes paid off is my highest priority.

    The whole tax rebate/penalty system for people to take out private health came about solely from lobbying by the Private health industry to force people to stay in it and therefore stay relevant. TBH private health in Australia is a joke and really just a cashgrab.

    • +2

      TBH private health in Australia is a joke and really just a cashgrab.

      That's what happens when government says "you have to buy that product or we will stick you with a fine levy.

    • Don't forget there are lifetime loadings as well for not having it after you hit 30. So while it may be cheaper right now, you could end up paying extra longer term because of it. Obviously, this will vary greatly based on personal circumstances, but something to be considered.

  • +1

    As above find out how much dropping extras will save you, if more than the cost of optical and dental then you can do that.

    don't drop Hospital as you will suffer from the medicare levy surcharge ( - a penalty for 30+ year olds at tax time.

  • We have a similar living situation and were paying over $4k. We reviewed it earlier this year and dropped to a more basic hospital plan. The extras cover had crept up over time, originally in was a no brainer for us jsut for optical/dental/physio, but it had gone up to almost $1600 a year, we worked out what it would actually cost us and it would never be more than about $1-1.2k per year with no insurance so we ditched the extras.

    The higher tier private insurance seemed pointless as well. We actually had over $70k paid by Bupa last year, but in reality, it made zero difference to the treatment we would have received. It was just a public hospital billing what they could to the private insurer. So we have now dropped to a lower tier of private healthcare to save costs.

  • It really depends on value you derive out of it. You really need to record how much you pay vs how much you are getting out of it:

    Tax saving.

    Dental & optical like you said

    Play the $100 you save on having an ambulance membership

  • Drop your private health insurance and then you join the rest on the waiting list when you need some elective surgery. "Elective" can include some pretty serious health issues that compromises your everyday quality of life.

    • Let's not forget you don't actually need to have private health for elective surgery, sure, it'll cost you a bit but it's still far cheaper than America where the health system gives you a choice of living with a large debt or dying.

      • The health system there is designed to keep people working. Those employed have health insurance because it is a normal/standard part of an employment contract.

        We hear about the horror cases and it also seems common but when you dig further, you will find the nuances makes these cases fairly unsensational.

        Those sob stories about American healthcare is like hearing about Australian motor vehicle collisions bankrupting people.

        • American healthcare is a full on money grab by insurance and the medical industry (suppliers of all things medical). I know I lived it and worked in it!!! True sob 🤬 stories for real tears and financial burden or no health care!

  • There are ways to save, there is nothing to stop you switching 3 times a year and getting 6 weeks free everytime, familiarising yourself with the policies and who offers best value.

  • ONLY got PHI for bypass surgery. Had to pay 12 months cost around $2200 a year single hospital only.

    Few months after surgery cancelled it never needed it before because everything is covered by Medicare and pension :D

    bulk billing and free medical care

    • Hey mate I'm in a similar situation in that I want to get bypass surgery this year. The gold plans say theres a waiting period of 2 months for this (12 months if you have existing conditions), my question is how long was your waiting period and what would constitute a pre-existing condition?

      • I think you already know the answer.

        If you 'want to get bypass surgery this year' it sounds like a pre-existing condition and you will have to wait 12 months.

        Each fund has its own rules about 'what would constitute a pre-existing condition'. You should refer to those rules. In many cases, the a doctor appointed by the fund will make the determination.

        The rules are designed to prevent people from signing up then soon thereafter claiming expensive benefits.

  • In an very similar situation to OP (wife and 2 kids), paying roughly $320/month for Hospital + Extras.

    Looking at my records, paid approximately $880 in premium for extras back in 2019, and the PI company paid around $2200 for dental (2 cleans for the 4 of us + fillings for 1 kid and myself + specs for myself) + massage (wife and I), so I would say extras are worth it.

    Similar premium for 2020 and so far they have paid roughly $1220. We have booked another dental checkup for December and shall be getting new specs and massages when things open up again in VIC.

    Am considering dropping hospital level to a lower level to save a few bucks…

  • We have Hospital Only - the highest cover. It's about $5400/year.
    The key reasons for me are for the extended cover for rehabilitation services if either of us were ever injured etc.
    Or because you can get non-emergency surgery sooner if it is required.
    We may never have to use it and I'm more than ok with that (I'd much rather not have to go to hospital).
    If the government offered an option to pay a bit more I'd be ok with that too.
    We used to have extras, I mainly used dental and occasional optical and physio but it's really not worth it. It was like having a payment plan.

  • did you know that some of them upgrade you to the highest level of cover including rehab if you have an accident, HCF has no excess in the event of an accident also, there are ways to save

  • One of the best ways to save on PHI is to constantly be churning through provider offers. In fact, you can save up to 60% with the common 6 weeks free after 1 month (4 weeks). Simple maths shows that you pay for 4 weeks but get 10 weeks of cover = 60% off.

    Loyalty does not pay (not as much as the above, anyway).

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