Friday, March 19, 2010

Affordable Health Insurance - Is it Worthwhile?

Within Australia, you need to purchase health insurance cover before you turn 31 or face higher annual premiums for each year that you are without cover.  I wasn't keen, but to avoid this extra cost and to save money on my tax I joined up before my 31st birthday, with the most basic cover available.  After I had finished working full-time, the Australian Government decided that a couple could earn $150,000 before they were charged a Medicare surcharge through their tax meaning that I dont need to pay health insurance....except I am now over 31.

I have been paying for about three years and never made a health insurance claim.  I visited the health insurance quotes website ISelect and applied for health insurance quotes in my search for low cost health insurance plans.  Based on my details, the recommended individual health insurance cover was with the exact same policy. 

I have now received a letter informing me that my health insurance premium will increase by about $7 a month.  It is not much, but I really hate to have to pay for something I am determined I wont need for 30-40 years.  I gave birth to my son in a public hospital and loved the experience.  I have no desire to be out of pocket many thousands of dollars, just so that I can have my own hospital room for 3 days with a few other perks here and there.  If I have an accident, I would be treated immediately so really I would only be inconvenienced for elective surgeries. 

It is so tempting to cancel my individual health insurance, but insurance is for 'just in case' so I guess I'll be spending many more years paying for something that I am determined not to need.

There are ways you can save on low cost health insurance policies.

1. Ask for a higher excess and you may be able to reduce your premium.  It just means you will pay more if you have to use your health insurance for any reason.

2. Paying annually can save up to 10 per cent on your premium when compared with monthly.

3. Quit smoking, some insurance companies will charge you less if you are a non-smoker.

4. Maintain a healthy lifestyle so that even if you are paying for health insurance, you dont need to make a claim.

5. Compare policies that the different health insurance companies offer to make sure you are getting the best deal.