Our 20s, 30s and 40s are spent having fun with our mates, driving fast cars, establishing careers and dating/getting married. But none of that is much good if we’re not taking care of ourselves in preparation for a long future. This needs to be a priority, but there are issues many men face that get in the way. The biggest problem is health insurance – or lack of.
Figures from APRA showed that at the end of 2019, there were major decreases in the number of people aged between 25 and 34 in Australia who had private health insurance. So why is private health insurance so important and what are we missing?
The importance of private health
Essentially, private health insurance allows you to be treated in hospital as a private patient, which can give you more control over your health, should you need it. For example, if you need to have surgery or treatment for any type of ailment, depending on your level of cover you can make decisions such as where you want it done, and when. With public health alone, you often don’t get the choice.
Private health insurance also allows you to choose a doctor, if you have a preference, and it can cover things like dental, physiotherapy and optical services, which aren’t covered by Medicare. One of the biggest benefits though is that by signing up to private hospital cover, you don’t have to pay the Medicare levy surcharge! This is payable if you earn over $90,001 on a single income or more than $180,001 for families, and is between 1.0% and 1.5% of your taxable income.
So, why aren’t we insured?
According to the Federal Government, more than 29,000 Australians cancelled their health insurance between March and June 2020 alone! But even before COVID-19 hit, there was evidence young people were opting out. There’s a lot of speculation of the causes – not enough incentive to pay for the insurance, too many cancelled services in 2020 due to the pandemic, higher premiums from some of the larger health insurance funds. And even with the Medicare levy surcharge, the number of 20-somethings who earn over $90K a year isn’t substantial.
For some of us, though, it’s simply because it’s too confusing and we don’t want to choose the wrong health insurance policy.
Choosing the right insurance
You don’t want to have to pay for things like pregnancy cover and if you’re single, you don’t want to be paying for a full family. You need to do your research and find the right cover to suit your needs. Health Funds like Frank Health Insurance provide simple and easy to understand health cover options if you don’t know where to start.
As a guy in your 20s - 40s, you’ll likely want to check that your policy has things like dental cover, optical, and if you’re active, decent cover for bones, joints and muscles. This will protect you if there’s any injuries while you’re hitting the trails or water. A popular option for a decent hospital cover is GMHBA’s Silver Plus membership. Optional extras are really dependent on your lifestyle, so compare plans, see what you can get, and make sure you are only paying for what you actually need.
If you want to take better care of yourself, a great health cover is a good place to start. Call GMHBA to chat about your options.