5 COVID-safe ways to use your health insurance extras (and save $650+)
Millions of health insurance policyholders have started the year with a bunch of new extras benefits – you need to use them or lose them.
Many top health funds in Australia reset their annual claim limits for out-of-hospital services on 1 January. Collectively, these items are known as extras cover and they can help with costs generally not covered by Medicare.
Whether or not your fund has just reset its benefit limits, there are a number of ways you can find savings on your health spending from the comfort of home.
Almost 1 in 5 of us needed help with our mental health last year. Not-for-profit THIS WAY UP told Finder they'd seen a 6-fold increase in registrations for online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) programs.
Psychology and counselling sessions have long been available under some extras covers. These can cover either individual or family appointments. Typically these savings are available for online telehealth consultations.
Estimated upfront saving: The cost of an initial consultation with a clinical professional can vary from $175 to $250. Your extras policy could let you claim back a psychology benefit of about $75.
If you're experiencing a mental health crisis and need support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24/7).
The summer may have been a wetter one than usual for many, but the UV index has been consistently high. You might be surprised to learn you can claim money back on sunscreen with certain funds. A host of other sun protection items are also claimable, including sunglasses, swimwear and hats.
Estimated upfront saving: ahm's super extras plan has a $52 single-item limit for sunscreen.
It's easy to buy contact lenses online and claim the cost back through your health fund. Start by looking for optical cover with your extras policy. As with prescription glasses, you won't be able to pay for your contact lenses via Medicare.
Before you buy your contacts, make sure your prescription is up-to-date. Check that your fund covers the online store you're buying with.
In addition to glasses and contact lenses, some extras benefits will help with the cost of eye therapies such as blurred or double vision, plus a number of other orthoptics services.
Estimated upfront saving: A box of 30 lenses starts from around $25. If you like to buy in bulk, it wouldn't be a stretch to use up a whole benefit limit of $200.
With so much focus on how to secure rapid tests and COVID boosters, it's easy to forget that you need to think about protection against a host of other non-COVID diseases. With the right extras policy in place, you can lower the cost of a range of vaccines.
The jabs you can claim for will have a number of conditions for you to claim money back on insurance. For example, they must be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). They'll have to cost more than the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) co-payment of $42.50 for you to make savings.
Booking in a jab now can ensure you're organised ahead of any trips overseas you might be planning this year. The government advises you should consult your doctor or visit a travel health clinic 6 to 12 weeks before you travel.
Travel Doctor-TMVC's website can help you with the latest information on vaccination requirements.
Estimated upfront saving: What you can save varies depending on your fund and the vaccines you need. Finder research has found that a dose can set you back as much as $325.
Health insurers have a vested interest in your physical health: the healthier you are, the less you'll need to make a claim on your policy.
If your extras plan comes with healthy lifestyle perks, there are a bunch of ways you can save. For example, Teachers Health fund lets you and your family get 15% off online prices when you shop for exercise equipment at AOK Health. This can include heart rate monitors, kettlebells and yoga mats. With Teachers Health, you can also lower the cost of certain online fitness programmes.
Estimated upfront saving: At the time of writing, AOK was selling an AcuPro Yoga Mat for $214.50. This translates to $32 off with your 15% discount.
Extras cover benefits typically expire 12 months after they start. It's best to get in early and compare extras insurance.
Be aware that you'll need to serve any waiting periods stated in your policy before you can make a claim for an item or service.