This post is brought to you by Choosi.
Every three months my health insurance invoice arrives and I groan inwardly. (And outwardly. You know how I love to vent and whine on Twitter!)
I mentally beat myself around the head and dutifully transfer the exorbitant amount of money over to my insurer. After a few minutes (or hours, depending on my mood) of moaning about the cost of health insurance and the fact that it’s pointless and vowing to shop around before the next payment is due, I forget about it.
Until three months later when my next bill arrives. Rinse repeat.
I’ve been with my current insurer all of my life and held the same ‘Extras’ (ancillary treatment) cover (albeit one aimed at – ahem – young singles) and Hospital cover for decades.
And yet, I listen to friends talking about receiving reimbursements for massages, or towards gym memberships or for other forms of therapy and I suffer from HEALTH INSURANCE ENVY!
Touch wood – but I’ve never been in hospital, other than for annual or bi-annual endoscopies (day surgery) to monitor my coeliac-ness. I claim 2-3 times a year for my contact lenses (to a maximum of $200), I go to the dentist every two, three or four years (yes, oops!) and occasionally I have to see a physiotherapist.
But that’s it.
I pay $2500 per year… $1750 after the CURRENT 30% government rebate.
I know by its very nature, insurance is there JUST IN CASE. And I’m a cautious person. I don’t want to suddenly be whacked with a huge medical bill, or need treatment or surgery I cannot afford. So I pay for health insurance.
I’ve had good dealings with the public health system in Queensland, but… sometimes one must queue. (And, quite frankly, I HATE waiting!)
So finally – though prompted – I am taking the bull by the horns (or something) and shopping around. Ta Da!
Choosi is NOT an insurance company but works with a range of insurers to help customers compare, choose and apply for insurance over the phone or via its website.
I also had the good fortune to seek informed advice about what sort of health cover I might require as my needs change over coming years and factors I should be considering when choosing my cover.
David Rees, Managing Director at Choosi confirmed my suspicion that I was WAY overdue to check my coverage.
A lot of people have a “set and forget” attitude to health insurance, but the reality is that their health needs change.
In addition, the products available to meet those needs change. A typical time for major change in terms of products is each April, when the rates for health insurance go up and insurers make changes to ensure consumers still get good value. Another rate increase is due this April.
David suggests that we give our Health Insurance a quick, annual check-up to ensure that it’s either meeting or going to meet our changing needs; and that it still represents good value.
Given my recent lifestyle changes, the new year’s resolution to tighten my belt (in more ways than one) AND increasing costs of health insurance, I wondered what – other than cost – we should be considering. How do we get the most bang for our buck?!
David explains it can be a mistake to solely focus on price.
There’s much more to health insurance than the price alone. You could pay less to lose a lot, or pay a little more to gain a lot – or every other possibility in between. It comes down to matching your unique needs with a suitable product. All products have different features and price is just one aspect to consider.
At Choosi, we encourage people to think about what they are going to use their health insurance for i.e. what services they are currently spending their money on or might need in the short to medium term and make sure they’re covered. Focus only on what you need.
Once cover is confirmed, it’s then a matter of making sure that the product reflects how often you are or are going to use that service.
And what I really like is that Choosi also recognises that – for many – health insurance is more than just a product and a price, it’s also about the insurer you choose.
Are they a brand you can trust? What do their own customers say about them? This is an important factor for a lot of consumers and so it should be.
And what if money is really tight? Most packages here in Oz have the two components – Hospital Cover an Extras. If you have to skimp, I wondered if it’s worth taking out one and not the other.
David reminds us that here in Australia, those earning over $84,000/annum without Private Health Insurance Hospital Cover must pay a Medicare Levy Surcharge. He suggests, in that case, cheap Hospital Cover may be preferable to none.
The key consideration when reviewing your health insurance, with your finances in mind, is to make sure you still end up with a product that meets your basic needs.
It’s also important to recognise that, in line with increasing costs, the increase in competition is creating some great value, low cost combined covers. Understanding what you need to be covered for (including what you absolutely have to have) and regularly comparing what’s available in the market, will not only ensure you have cover that meets your needs – it will ensure you have cover that fits your budget as well.
So with this sage advice in mind I embarked on my quest to identify coverage that best suits my needs, as well as my budget.
Fortunately the Choosi website is very easy to navigate. My Twitter followers and Facebook likers know I’m
very somewhat intolerant and not likely to mince words if I have an unfulfilling experience. But this one was a breeze…
The site pretty much does what you expect it should do – a good thing in my opinion!
You simply enter the type of coverage you want (Hospital versus Extras or both) and you can also handpick benefits. As my current cover doesn’t include remedial massages and the like, that was something I was particularly keen to take advantage of.
The wait for options is brief; they’re very detailed and they can be sorted in a variety of ways. (Low cost to highest and so forth AND using fortnightly / monthly or annual costs.)
I particularly loved the company summaries and reviews from users.
Any current specials are listed and Fact Sheets are available to provide extra details and benefit limits.
It really is a one-stop shop as you can buy your new cover then and there AND you are also able to request that your old insurer be contacted to cancel your existing membership.
On top of saving you time by NOT having to shop around yourself, Choosi also features a range of smaller providers.
I’m certainly making an overdue change to my health insurance and am kicking myself that I haven’t done so sooner.
To quote David, “It’s your health, be Choosi!”
Choosi can also help you make informed decisions about life, funeral or income protection insurance.
Do you have health insurance? How did / do you choose your insurer?
January 10, 2013
WOW… your health insurance is amazing. I pay half of that each month. plus co pays for any visit. You hear that we are the most expensive but seeing it here blew me away.
January 10, 2013
Wow Jules, I thought health insurance / medical stuff was really expensive in the US compared to here.
There are also government rebates etc for visits to doctors and so forth. Health insurance really only covers hospital visits/stays and ‘extras’ here.
January 11, 2013
I am also shocked at how little you pay for insurance. We pay $1350 a MONTH to cover the members of our family…and that is after the company I work for kicks in. Which by the way, is how my family chooses…we go with what our company offers as that is always cheaper.
I had always thought that here in the USA health care is much more expensive…but it is shocking to see how much more!!
And reimbursement for a massage…forget about it. I have also been rather upset by the lack of paying for preventive care. Why not pay for a holistic healing classes that have cured my migraines? If you will pay thousands for the medicine to make the migraines so away…. oh…I could go on for days….
(long time reader…first time commenting. Guess health care makes me crazy!!)
January 12, 2013
Hi A and thanks for commenting (and reading, of course!!!).
I know we’re fortunate in our health system here in Oz – particularly the public system – which is (for hospitals etc) essentially free. As I said in the post my own father had great experiences with the public health system as he’d had heart issues for much of his life (from rheumatic fever as a child!) and even had a heart transplant. As a result of the drugs to suppress his immune system he got a rare type of cancer and had to have radiotherapy. All of that was done through the public system and he received excellent care and treatment – free.
And I really agree with you about the preventative health care. The costs of NOT addressing health issues early can be exorbitant!
January 11, 2013
We have just extras cover because that’s what we know we’ll use. My eldest two sons have hospital cover but when my middle son broke his hand I discovered that her really wasn’t covered for much and he ended up going public anyway. I’ve had all three of my kids publicly and was treated really well every time.
January 12, 2013
My folks live in a small town where there’s currently a private hospital. They’ve been really lucky to have been covered for EVERYTHING when they’ve been in for various reasons. My mum even had a knee replacement there and wasn’t out of pocket (other than for the specialists), plus she always had a private room. I have always worried that – the time I drop it – will be when I need it!!!
January 17, 2013
Right, I’m off to look for health insurance now. Really!
January 18, 2013
Great! Can’t wait to hear how it went! Is undoubtedly more important when you have a family/children!