Consumerism Health

I hate health insurance

Hands up who has private health insurance and understands how their fund works? I have it (to avoid the extra government slug if I don’t) and I hate it. I have no idea how it all works. I’ve just pared back the coverage because I was getting little benefit from the hefty (and ever-increasing) premiums I was paying… the plan I was on had various extras that made it totally impossible to understand, let alone be able to claim all that was owing.

When I changed it the guy on the phone said there was up to $900 of benefits sitting in my account unclaimed; that it could be claimed to cover recent dental costs. I had no idea. Why didn’t they just pay that as part of the claim when I was at the dentist, rather than waiting for me to realise, then go claim it separately?

Or maybe they hoped I’d never find out, just like the new 30% tax rebate on child care that I just found out about. (Yeah, good luck finding all the receipts going back to July 2004.)

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

6 replies on “I hate health insurance”

‘When I changed it the guy on the phone said there was up to $900 of benefits sitting in my account unclaimed’

That makes it sound as if insurance is this sort of magic pudding that you can claim money out of, if for no other reason than you put heaps in and ‘deserve to get a bit back’.

This thinking is as opposed to the more limited notion that insurance is only there as a precaution when things go wrong, while being thankful that your health is good and you didn’t need it.

With the former thinking common (even amongst the funds who are using it to market themselves and ancilliary perks that I think extend to fancy spectacle frames and even running shoes) then premiums can only rise more.

Hence I reckon that trying to cover or insure against the ‘gap’ is inflationary and could lead to US-style cost spirals. Also I am not averse to the concept of small co-payments for similar reasons.

I undestand that you’re in a situation where the tax system distorts your choice, but I’d rather keep my money than having someone take more of mine, even if they promise to return some of it in gimmmicks of little benefit to my health and all about marketing the big funds.

Yeah, we are in Medibank Private (just hospital cover) to avoid the extra tax thing. We have never made a claim (which is good I suppose) so it’s not complicated for us – just $%#^@ expensive.

As for the 30% childcare rebate – Centrelink (Family Assistance Office) are totally incompetent. I doublt whether we’ll get 5 cents back as CentreLink “de-registered” our kids in August 2005. We only use after school care and school holiday program but a few bucks would be nice!

Peter, yeah, as I’ve said before, I think the way private health insurance is run in Australia is totally unsustainable. (That much should be obvious from the continual premium increases.)

If there were a simple way of self-insuring, which avoided the extra tax, I’d do it. (Evidently Josh’s scheme hasn’t got off the ground yet.)

are you aware that the tax department will refund 20 cents in every dollar of net medical expenses over $1500

Yes, i do understand a lot about Health Insurance. Mind you, Health Insurance in Canada, not Australia.

Send me your questions and the link for thje company and I will try to answer your questions.


j :)

Comments are closed.