07.How to save
You can save on your private hospital insurance premium by buying a policy:
- with an excess (the excess is the amount of money you have to pay for a hospital stay, before the private health fund starts paying), or
- where you pay a co-payment if you go into hospital (you pay an agreed amount each time a service is provided — usually a set amount per day for a set number of days per stay).
If you decide to go for one of these policies, check the fine print carefully. For example, with some policies the excess is applied once a year; other policies could apply the excess multiple times. If you want to take out hospital insurance to avoid paying the Medicare levy surcharge you need to be especially careful.
- Some policies with a high excess (more than $500 for singles and $1000 for couples/families) are NOT exempt from the surcharge. This means you’d still pay the extra levy even though you’ve paid for insurance. Check with the fund before you buy.
As a general rule, it’s better to save money by choosing a product with a high excess or a co-payment rather than one that excludes treatment for some conditions.