Extras cover

WHAT IS EXTRAS COVER?

Extras cover, also referred to as general or ‘ancillary cover’, is insurance that offers benefits for day-to-day treatments often not covered by Medicare, including dental, physiotherapy and optical. Extras cover can also include podiatry, chiropractic, occupational therapy and alternative treatments like acupuncture, myotherapy and massage.

CONSIDERING EXTRAS COVER?

Extras cover is for treatments not included in your hospital healthcare. Some policies offer flexible limits, so you can spend your limits on the services you use most often. Maybe you’re after the best extras cover for physiotherapy or looking for dental insurance only.

Most health cover providers offer packaged health insurance for both hospital and extras. You also have the choice to purchase them separately. In the end, it’s your personal choice to invest in extras cover.

Navigating the long list of extras health cover policies and special offers can be tricky, because the range of benefits offered and paid will typically vary widely between health funds.

Health funds may restrict the total amount you can claim by setting either a total claimable maximum per year, or applying individual service limits. It is also important to be aware that funds may apply family or single limits restricting the number of times you can claim.

TYPES OF EXTRAS COVER

Extras health insurance is a type of health insurance that can help meet the ongoing costs of maintaining your health with services like dental, optical and physiotherapy. There are limits to the amount you can claim back each year for these services. Those limits are set by the health fund for each policy.

Basic cover:

Younger members, people taking out health insurance for the first time and those that don’t use health services regularly usually start with a basic level of cover. It often includes general dental, optical and physiotherapy services. Please speak to one of our Health Insurance Advisors on 1300 76 76 00 about any questions for specific treatments and policy inclusions.

Medium cover:

As your life and family circumstances change you may need cover for additional health services. A mid-level cover usually includes additional benefits for major dental like orthodontics, podiatry and psychology. Our Health Insurance Advisors can help find a health insurance policy that includes benefits for the health services you might want or need to use.

Comprehensive cover:

As you get older or your life and family circumstances change you may need greater access to a range of health services. While the benefit limits will vary between each policy there are a range of additional benefits that are included. Access to new service benefits may include higher limits for benefits like major dental, physiotherapy and orthotics. Generally medical aids or appliances like hearing aids become available at the level of cover.

WAITING PERIODS FOR EXTRAS

As a first-time buyer, or someone updating their health insurance plan, you’ll likely have a waiting period. These range from 2 months for benefits such as general dental or physiotherapy and 12-months for major dental, before you can make your first claim. During this time, you won’t receive benefits for certain treatments.

For those members switching policies, any waiting periods already served won’t need to be reserved, so you’ll be able to claim on those services immediately. All the claims made since the beginning of the benefit year will be transferred and deducted off the new limits as well, as you cannot transfer for financial gain.

EXTRAS COVER BENEFITS DIFFERENT PEOPLE, DIFFERENTLY

If you’re single or in a couple interested in health insurance for dental, optical, and physiotherapy, basic or medium cover shouldn’t break the bank. Generally, a couples policy is the same price as two single policies. This offers you and your partner the flexibility to choose the extras that meet your individual needs, rather than having to choose the same.

On the other hand, if your family is experiencing ongoing dental issues, maybe per person limits are important to you rather than a family limit. Maybe you are wanting to invest in braces for the kids? In this instance, comprehensive cover may be more suitable.

The bottom line is to choose a fund that reflects your lifestyle. Everyone has different needs and desires so it is helpful that most health insurance providers offer multiple levels of cover.

IS EXTRAS COVER GOOD VALUE?

Extras health cover can be great value if you’re making the most of the services available.

When booking treatment or care, check for HICAPS availability. This option allows you to make immediate claims on many services. If you miss making a claim on the spot, don’t worry, as most funds will refund claims up to 2 years after the date of service.

Look out for early payment discounts. Some funds offer up to 4% in discounts for payments made by direct debit, or by paying your annual premium upfront.

Review your current lifestyle. Depending on how you use your health insurance it may be b better value to choose a fund that pays out a percentage of your bill for each treatment (e.g. 60%) rather than a fixed amount (e.g. $30). If you use a lot of different health services you might find better value knowing you have a fixed percentage and higher claim limit.