Are you over 65? Find out what you should be looking for in a health insurance policy.
If you're over 65 then your health insurance needs may have changed since you took out your last policy. Whether you're after a comprehensive policy that covers you for all the extras or a policy that protects your for just the basics, it's important to review your cover to ensure you're getting value for money.
Compare your health insurance options
Why get health insurance?
There are several reasons why health insurance is essential for those over 65 including:
- Increased medical needs. One of the unfortunate parts of getting older is that you are at a higher risk of suffering from a wide range of illnesses and medical complications. In addition, the older you are, the longer you will generally take to recover from illness or injury, which can further increase your medical costs.
- Medicare doesn’t cover everything. While Medicare provides cover for some medical costs, it certainly doesn’t cover all the medical, hospital and treatment expenses you could incur. Private health insurance is designed to act as an extension to the cover offered by Medicare, providing financial protection against expensive health care costs.
- Policies designed with you in mind. Many Australian private health funds have policies specifically designed to suit seniors, ensuring that you have the protection you need at all times.
- Get the treatment you need. Having private health cover in place allows you to avoid hospital waiting lists, choose your doctor and hospital, and avoid the financial impact of expensive medical bills.
What does Over 65s health insurance cover?
Health insurance for over 65s covers a wide range of treatments and medical services. While the exact cover provided varies depending on the insurer and the policy you select, you can take out over 65s health insurance to cover:
- Theatre and intensive care fees
- Ambulance transport
- Emergency department visits
- Inpatient pharmaceuticals
- Joint replacement surgery
- Eye surgery
What about the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card?
The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) gives older Australians access to cheaper pharmaceuticals and government-funded medical services. If you hold one of these cards you’re eligible for:
- Discounts on prescription medication offered through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
- Bulk-billed GP appointments. The federal government provides incentives to doctors to encourage them to bulk bill cardholders.
- Increased benefits for out-of-hospital patient care above what Medicare covers
- Discounts on Great South Rail services, including the Ghan and the Indian Pacific
- A quarterly payment, referred to as the Energy Supplement, to help cover power and phone bills
In order to qualify for the CSHC you must:
- Have reached pension age (65 years old) and not qualify for a payment from the Department of Human Services or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
- Provide the Department of Human Services with your and your partner’s Tax File Numbers
- Meet the income test
- Meet residence requirements
The income test for the CSHC is reviewed each year and includes your adjusted taxable income and a specific amount from your account-based income streams. You will need to have an income of less than the following amounts in order to be eligible for the card:
- $52,273 for singles
- $83,636 combined income for couples
- $104,546 combined income for couples who are separated by illness or respite care, or where one partner is imprisoned
The income limit rises by $639.60 for each dependent child you care for.