Common Reasons People Opt for Private Health Cover

November 1, 2018
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Almost all of us take our health seriously, yet we each adopt different approaches to managing our health care. While many of us are happy to rely on the public health system to provide the medical support we need, others prefer to go down the route of private health care.

The reasons for opting for private health care are wide and varied and largely depend on where we live and our personal circumstances, however there are a few common trends that motivate people to choose to fork out a significant sum of money for private health care, even when they have access to public health system.

Here are a few of the most common reasons:

1. To have greater control and flexibility

One of the most significant motivators to take out private hospital health cover is to have greater control and flexibility when you need a hospital admission.

When you rely on the public health system, you have very little control to dictate many aspects of your treatment and care. You’re essentially placed on a waiting list of patients who each require surgery or treatment, which will be triaged in order of urgency. This means you could be waiting for months or even years if your treatment is not considered to be urgent.

In contrast, when you have private health insurance, you’ll have far more control and flexibility to decide where you want to be treated, when you want to receive treatment and who you want to provide that treatment.

2. To have a private room

We are often at our most vulnerable when undergoing medical care, so having a private room to recover in post-treatment can be invaluable to some.

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When you receive care under the public system, there’s a high chance you’ll be allocated to a shared room which offers minimal privacy. In contrast, private hospitals may offer patients the luxury of a private room which could even include added luxuries like a private bathroom, a double bed or space for a loved one to stay with you.

3. To be covered for things beyond what the public system covers

Public health systems always come with certain limitations about what they can cover.

If you’re in need of things like physiotherapy, chiropractic, dental, optical or nutritional health care, chances are it won’t be covered by the public health system and you’ll need private extras cover to reduce your out of pocket costs. Cover for ambulance services is also a must-have.

4. To save on tax

The way public health systems are funded vary from country-to-country, however many countries offer tax incentives for people to take out private health care.

In Australia, people who hold an appropriate level of private hospital cover can receive an exemption from having to pay a public health levy, known as the Medicare Levy Surcharge, which is dependent on income level. The Government also encourage people to take up Private Hospital cover at a younger age, and as such impose a loading for those who wait until after they’re 31 to take out Hospital cover.

5. To ease pressure on the public system

Many people also choose to take out private health insurance for altruistic reasons—if they can afford it, they’ll opt for private health insurance in an effort to relieve the pressure on public hospitals and the wider health system.

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With many governments under increasing pressure to cater for growing and ageing populations, many systems are struggling to keep up with demand. By reducing the strain on the public health system, it frees up funds to upgrade hospitals and benefit the wider community.