Top tips for comparing health cover

30.06.16

Here at Bupa, we think the best decisions are made when you have more information rather than less. It’s always important to check detail so you’re comparing apples with apples. That’s why we’ve put all the information you need in one place – to help make comparing your cover easy as pie.

One thing you should consider when choosing the right health cover is to understand what options are available to you in your workplace. Before you get started, be sure to check whether your company has an arrangement with a health & care partner that could make you eligible for discounts and other benefits.

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1. Compare like for like

Health insurance policies can be made up of a combination of hospital and extras covers. All Bupa Hospital and most Extras covers include emergency ambulance services, usually capped at one (for singles) or two (for couples/families) trips or attendances per year. When reviewing policies, it’s important to make sure you compare the same level of cover (eg. hospital cover with hospital cover) for a fair and accurate assessment.

Understanding the 3 key components

  • Hospital cover can contribute towards the cost for any treatment which is recognised by Medicare and is not either a restriction or excluded service under your cover.
  • Extras or ancillary cover helps towards the costs of everyday health services e.g. dental, physio and optical.
  • Ambulance cover can range from emergency only cover to more comprehensive policies that cover you for non-emergency situations.

2. Compare hospital cover exclusions and inclusions

Exclusions and costs

When comparing hospital covers, it’s important to look at the fine print. Are there any services your cover excludes? For those services that are included, how high is the level of cover? When comparing the price of hospital covers, check to see if the policy has an excess or co-payment. An excess or co-payment on your cover can lower the overall price of the premium, but will mean a payment is required upfront if you do need to go to hospital.

Inclusions

When comparing the services that are covered, you may come across the terms ‘minimum benefit’ and ‘restricted service’. You will be able to identify this if either term is noted beside each included service or procedure. These terms mean you’ll only be partially covered for a service and will likely have large out-of-pocket expenses should you need to be admitted to hospital.

3. Understand extras

Before you start searching for health cover, make a list of all the ‘extra’ health services you’re likely to need in the foreseeable future. Do you use a physio or visit the dentist? Do you need glasses?

Once you have a list of these services, compare the percentage or amount you’ll get back for a particular treatment and the dollar limit of what you can claim each year (or in some cases, over a lifetime).

Most Extras covers cap the amount you can claim per year on each service like ‘general dental’, ‘optical’ or ‘physio’. Other products will have a combined yearly limit that groups several services together and lets you claim up to that single set amount for all of those services. For example, if physio, osteo, chiro and natural therapies are all grouped together, it means that these services share an overall yearly limit. The more services that are bundled together, the more chances there are of you reaching your yearly limit, sooner than you’d like, which can be restricting.

Handy tip: If there is more than one person covered under your policy, remember to check that the limit for each Extras cover is per person or per membership.

4. Look for features beyond the policy

Find out whether your health insurer provides additional support to help keep you healthy every day, in addition to supporting you when you’re sick or injured. For example, here at Bupa we offer Bupa Plus, an exclusive range of health discounts and tools to provide value to members even when they’re well.

We understand that illness can strike anytime. That’s why we teamed up with 13SICK (13 7425), National Home Doctor Service. As a Bupa member, you have complimentary access to their After Hours Plus membership. This means that when you need urgent medical care after-hours and book a bulk-billed home visit, should you require commonly prescribed medications, they will be provided on the spot at no cost.

To check coverage areas visit our website.

5. Be cautious of comparison website and offers

If you’re going to use a comparison website, it’s important to be aware that:

  • Some comparators only sell products from a portion of the health insurers in the market.
  • Comparators may sometimes receive commissions or incentives from companies whose products or services they sell or promote.
  • Price, while important, is only one feature to compare. It’s just as important to choose the right type and level of cover. It could end up costing you more down the track if you find you’re not covered for the items you need.

So there you have it. We hope we’ve given you enough information to help you make educated comparisons when it comes to choosing your cover.

Get in touch if you would like to find out more about Bupa health insurance. Don’t forget to mention your company name if you have access to a Bupa corporate health plan.

Call 134 135

Request a call back: bupa.com.au/callmeback