Saturday, February 16, 2013

Health Insurance FAQ

Here are the questions we have heard most often over the years regarding health insurance (aka medical insurance). Look for future FAQs to deal with questions about other forms of cover.
 
Do I Really Need Health Insurance?
Although it may seem easy to adopt a standpoint of ‘it won’t happen to me’ as it relates to insurance, it is an unfortunate statistical fact that you will require hospitalisation, surgery or medical procedures at some point in your life, in many cases more than once. Within the current medical system, the only way to ensure that you and your family will receive the treatment you need promptly is by taking out health and medical insurance. Although cover may seem unnecessary from a short sighted mindset, the alternative of having to bear the burden of excessive treatment expenses can make the cost of premiums a small price to pay in the long run. Not having it is taking a chance. From my own personal point of view, having health cover has spared me over $20,000 in costs after I was unexpectedly diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. Before that, I was completely healthy with no real health issues. It can happen, and it can ruin lives. Make an informed decision.
 
Which type of Health Cover is best for me?
The primary benefits of having health or medical insurance are guaranteed protection from the risk of having to pay for your own treatment, as well as obtaining the best possible care with the least amount of delay or stress. In general, for most cases, a hospitalisation and surgical, combined with a tests and specialist policy will provide you with a basic and effective level of cover. We also specialise in more specific insurance plans covering optical and dental expenses, and also routine GP visits and checkups. As to which specific plan is the best for you, it will depend on personal factors in your life. Do some research, or get in contact and our advisers can take you through the options completely free and with no obligation.
 
Which company has the best Health Insurance policy?
The answer to this question will vary depending on your own personal needs from your insurance plan. There are a number of factors which need to be taken into account when choosing a provider. Every company is slightly different in the way that it structures its cover. For instance when insuring your family, some companies base their premiums on the age of the youngest adult covered, some have ‘per-child’ premiums, whilst others have a flat rate no matter how many children are covered. Companies also differ in the way they process claims. In general though, both Southern Cross's VIP Plans and Sovereign Assurance's Majorcare can be relied upon as excellent options.
 
Should I choose an excess?
Adding an excess to your policy can have practical benefits in the long run, as most companies offer a discount on the monthly premium for doing so. This saving, over time, can add up to a significant total over the course of several years. Furthermore, it is an unfortunate fact that premiums will continue to increase over time. Adding an excess is one of the options we can provide you in order to mitigate these increases, keeping your insurance costs manageable. In general, an excess of some sort is generally a good idea.
 
How much can I claim?
Your policy will have a ceiling amount that you can claim per operation or procedure, and these amounts are variable based on the type of cover and the company providing the insurance plan. These limits are designed to be high, in order to accommodate almost every possible medical scenario.  

Do I need to remember details of my Medical History?
It is necessary that you can recall as much as you can of your significant medical history. The main thing when completing an application for insurance is to disclose as much as possible of any past medical treatment or consultations. Failure to do so could impact claims on your insurance policy.

Are there alternatives to Medical Cover?
Not really. Although it may be tempting to think that you could save the money you would normally pay into a medical insurance policy for possible future use, the levels of medical inflation means that an investment would need to grow at an unrealistic rate to keep up. Obviously, there is a chance that you could go through your entire life without ever making a claim (which would be a good thing) but there's also the possibility that you need to make several significant claims, even one of which could be crippling to your financial prosperity to pay out of your own pocket. So unless you have significant savings, medical insurance is almost essential.

How much will my premiums increase annually?
Again this will depend on the choice of company. Some have age-related premiums increasing each year, whereas others calculate premiums on five year age bands. Regardless of how often these age-related increases are applied, you can expect to receive an increase every year or so to reflect higher than expected claims (company wide rather than specific to you) or to take the rise in medical costs into account. Factors that contribute to higher claims costs include:
  • Restricted access to public health care.
  • New medical technology (more costly to provide).
  • An aging population (with higher average claims amounts).
  • Rising medical inflation (increasing consultation, treatment and equipment costs). Increasing premiums are a necessary fact of life in terms of insurance, however we can provide several strategies in order to lessen these costs. These strategies can include adding an excess, shifting insurance providers or making policy adjustments, always ensuring your best interests are our top priority.
Increasing premiums are a necessary fact of life in terms of insurance, however we can provide several strategies in order to lessen these costs. These strategies can include adding an excess, shifting insurance providers or making policy adjustments, always ensuring your best interests are our top priority.

If you have any questions regarding your insurance, feel free to post a comment below or get in contact with us, we'd be happy to help.



 

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