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Here’s what you need to know about buying a private health cover

The government encourages Australians to take out private insurance to reduce burden on the public health system. Source: Getty Images/Luis Alvarez

Private health insurance helps people avoid long wait times for non-urgent procedures and lets them access services that Medicare does not cover. But out of pocket costs may be a deterrent for many people to use it to pay for their medical costs.

Medicare covers costs such as GP visits, treatment and accommodation in public hospitals and most prescription medications under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Besides Australian citizens and permanent residents, Medicare is also available to some eligible temporary visa holders, such as those on partner, protection and skilled regional sponsored visas.

However, Medicare doesn’t cover services like ambulance, eyeglasses or contact lenses, osteopathy etc.

Milosh Milisavljevic, a senior executive of customer strategy and portfolio at Medibank, says the role of private health is to give options to Australians and take pressure off the public health system.

“There’s over 13 million Australians that hold private health cover. So that’s roughly 53% of the country has private health insurance. And 44% of Australians have hospital cover. So roughly a third might expect to consume or access the hospital system. And then the vast majority of our customers access some sort of extras cover or allied health and that’s your dentist, optical cover, physio and that’s usually with the view of preventative health as well as taking care of various minor health issues. And that I think will be consistent across the health industry.”

Click on the player at the top of the page to listen to this audio in Punjabi.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at https://www.sbs.com.au/language/coronavirus

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