Your handy checklist to Private Health Insurance

If you are about to buy private health insurance for the first time, it’s always a good idea to have a little list of questions with you. This is a good idea whether you are buying your insurance over the phone, via and office or online. Keep your list with you, that way you won’t forget to ask any important questions.

The following questions should cover most bases for you, and then you might want to add your own questions that apply to you personally.

Ask the fund:

  • Do waiting periods apply before you will be fully covered? Are there certain medical conditions or services that have a waiting period?
  • What excess plans do they offer? Is there a limit on the excess amount you might use?
  • Do they exclude any treatments? (You will want to make sure you are covered for things you will actually use).
  • With treatments/services you are covered for, and are they restricted to public hospitals? Would you still be covered if you chose to go to a private hospital?
  • Does the policy allow you to be treated as a private patient in a public hospital?
  • What hospitals are covered by your fund? Are there any treatment restrictions at your preferred hospital?
  • You might have a preferred Doctor (such as a specialist). Would you be able to choose that doctor to see you in hospital, and would you be covered for this?
  • Would you be covered for other health practitioners that you see frequently, such as a Naturopath or Physiotherapist?
  • What are the likely ‘out-of pocket’ expenses that the fund simply does not cover?
  • Don’t forget to think about your life-stage and situation. Ask the fund about all the extras they have to offer. Do they offer the ones you need?
  • How convenient is the fund when it comes to you claiming a rebate? Can you claim a rebate online, via HICAPS, by phone or by post?
  • What service do they offer if and when you have questions? Do they have an assistance line you can call? What hours does this service operate?
  • Are you buying as a single person, or as a family? If you are covering you and your family/spouse, find out exactly what each person in your policy will be covered for.
  • If there is a treatment or service that you use that has not come up after asking all of the above, ask about it now before you lock yourself in.

Buying private health insurance does not have to be complicated. Getting a great policy for you or your family simply means knowing what questions to ask. Hopefully, the questions listed here will help you, or even inspire you to start looking into private health insurance for the first time.