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Private Medical Insurance


Jenn
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Hi,

We are on Queensland Business skills (provisional) visa 164 and we aren’t entitled to Medicare and would appreciate recommendations on private medical insurance company and what plan/cover to choose for a couple and a three year old. We are looking for a health care insurance plan that would cover surgery and hospitalisation, pregnancy stuff, optometrist, dentist, orthodontist, chronic (diabetes, blood pressure) etc.

From the feedback on this forum it seems Medibank is the popular choice for those on PR. However those on work or employer sponsor visa seem to be on IMAN, BUPA HBA and MDF which sometimes was their personal choice or company choice. Didn't hear anybody on HCF though they seem ok.

If anybody who took private medical insurance can share which one they chose, how good the service is, how fast get refund, % refund over claim amount, limits etc, is it Australia-wide coverage in case move to another state? Having a 3 year old will mean going to GPs/doctors/paediatricians for the usual cold, ear infection etc. How good are they? How easy it to get prescriptions from doctors and what is is the dispensing fee by chemist?

I also heard that for private medical insurance, one incur penalties or higher premium for every year over 30years? Is that correct?

Did anybody have to convert a South African prescription to an Australian prescription for chronic medication? How do we go about that? How many months prescription can we take to Australia, is it 3 months or 6 months?

Thank you.

Jennifer

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Hi I would also love to hear from others and we need to get private medical insurance as we r on a 457.

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Hi I would also love to hear from others and we need to get private medical insurance as we r on a 457.

Have a look at the website : www.iselect.com, it has a good selection of health insurance companies and gives a good comparison, once you have answered all the questions, it will suggest the most suitable insurance for your circumstances.

Noele

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I googled private medical care and got the Medibank website.

Not in Aus yet so not sure how good they are, but you can fill out the quote form, and they quote you on the website which might give you an idea regarding costs. I also like them because they have pet insurance. Has a wonderful dog that died from cancer a few years ago and always promised myself I will get pet insurance when next I get a pet. You can also get a quote for your pet on the website.

Hope that helps!

Michele

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We're also on the hunt for private health for when our PR comes through so will watch this post.

Regarding your chronic prescription. You will need to go see a GP, take your current prescription with you & they will just give you a new one. I wouldn't think it would be more difficult than that.

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When I got here on my first 457, my employer took out Basic Visitors Cover for my daughter and I.

It was only for major emergencies so thankfully we never used it much.

I upgraded when I got my second 457 to one of their better policies, and so far I have had nothing to complain about. They refund you very quickly and the contact I have had with them has been positive.

I did a lot of ferreting around for different ones and also used iSelect, but I found it so overwhelming and because of how different this all is to what I was used to in SA, I wasn't sure of half of what I was reading!

I'm happy with them.

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Have a look at the website : www.iselect.com, it has a good selection of health insurance companies and gives a good comparison, once you have answered all the questions, it will suggest the most suitable insurance for your circumstances.

Noele

Remember that iSelect only offer policies from companies willing to pay them a commission so not all the options available are included. A better bet is www.choice.com.au.. Its an independent consumer research organisation. They charge an annual membership fee to view reports but it is well worth it because they test/evaluate all sorts of products and services you will need in Aus when you get here. eg Appliances, vehicles, bank fees etc etc At least check the web site to see what I mean. they recently updated their medical insurance report.

We have just changed from 457 insurance through IMAN to Medibank Private and they do not pay for outpatient services like IMAN do. We had every cent we spent on any medical issues refunded on our IMAN policy but it looks like as a PR you can only get hospital cover and even that can sometimes cost you. Its only been three weeks for us so far so I dont know what it will be like but I did have to visit the doctor the other day. Medicare paid $33 towards the $60 fee and we have to pay the rest, which I found out when I called them to find out how to lodge a claim. I got quite a shock, thinking we had chosen the wrong company, but it seems that this is the way it works. This goes for specialist visits as well.

Choice rated Medibank quite highly and I also notice a lot of people on the forum use them so that influenced our decision. It is impossible, unless you have tons of time, to compare every policy out there, but from the research I did Medibank are quite good compared to the others I looked at. Look carefully at the Extras cover before you take it. Medibank has quite good dental cover, which is more important to me than a massage.

Also, paying a hospital excess brings your monthly premiums down a lot. We took the $500 excess option. You only pay this once per year per adult if you end up in hospital. It doesn't apply to children at Medibank. You will save more than $500 a year in reduced premiums, depending on your plan of course. We took the Blue Ribbon top hospital cover because we plan to have more children.

The excess premium for over 30s does not apply to permanent residents who take cover immediately.

Also very important, make sure the company you use will waive your waiting periods because of your 457 cover. Medibank do waive the waiting periods.

I hope this has been a little helpful at least. As I said, we have just got PR so haven't had a lot of experience with Medibank service. I do have to have my gall bladder removed in the near future so Ill update this once I get the bill!

If you are on a 457 I can highly recommend IMAN, we were with them for 3 years and they really are good. Paid for every thing without a problem ever. You might get cheaper ones, like Manchester Unity, but check to see what their limits are per year. MAnchester at the time had something like a $100,000 limit per year for hospital fees. If you do end up in hospital for a period for some unfortunate reason, a $100,000 is not going to go far. IMAN is unlimited. They give a free domestic travel insurance policy as well, you just apply for it each year.

Cheers

Alan

Edited by alanb
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You might also consider going with an insurance company that does health, motor and property. We went with SGIO (in WA) or GIO (in the other states) because if you take all three with the same company we get 10% discount on each. so that worked out cheaper and the health benefits were comparable.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi,

I am still on exploratory phase on PHI and also quite keen on Medibank. I am undecided between Medibank and HCF but Medibank limits seem to be higher and you get cover for more things.

Would anybody know if any PHI or Medibank cover for transition lenses or sunglasses as the sun is quite harsh here and it seems wearing one would be beneficial to protect one's eyes.

However they all seem to cover for normal spectacles which it is every calender year. Am I correct to say that if I take PHI in Nov, I can get a pair now (in 2009) and another pair next year 2010?

alanb, can you please confirm if IMAN is only an option for non-PR people reason for your change to Medibank once you got PR? I have PR.

On website IMAN (http://www.austhealth.com/index.php) got a strategic alliance with NIB. So once on PR, members can change to their alliance partner for insurance. Any reason for not continuing with their alliance partner NIB?

Candide

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Something I found out this week. Ambulance is not covered on medicare so if you rely on medicare only and need an ambulance you will be charged unless you have paid St John ambulance for cover, evidently about $50 a year. Of course most private medical cover does cover for ambulance. I had assumed that on medicare you would be covered if you needed an ambulance so I thought I would share my find.

Susan

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Hi there,

Something to note for the benefit of those still in SA is that (at least from my perspective) the term "Private Health Insurance" is sometimes used interchangebly in discussions. There are actually two main types/terms to be aware of when looking at websites. "Private Health Insurance" is intended for those on PR looking to add to the basic cover provided by Medicare. Anyone not on PR should take out "Overseas Visitors Cover" - a more comprehensive form of private cover to cover costs for those with no Medicare benefits. One of the conditions of the 457 visa (I assume it would be for all non-PR visas) is that you should maintain Overseas Visitors Cover at all times as the state effectively does not cover any of even the most basic of costs it normally would to those on Medicare.

Both are forms of private cover, but they are different in purpose and cover. Unfortunately by its nature overseas visitors cover premiums are more expensive than standard private health insurance.

z

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Hi,

Thanx All of You for the answers.

Zetman, thank you for the detailed explanation on private cover and clarification on using of the correct terminology. Have a much clearer understanding now.

Since we will be on business skills visa and not eligible for medicare, therefore ours will have to be an "Overseas Visitors Cover".

Jennifer

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No worries Jenn. I hope I didn't come accross as a terminology freak :lol: - just thought it was worth clarifying. :)

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Hi,

I am still on exploratory phase on PHI and also quite keen on Medibank. I am undecided between Medibank and HCF but Medibank limits seem to be higher and you get cover for more things.

Would anybody know if any PHI or Medibank cover for transition lenses or sunglasses as the sun is quite harsh here and it seems wearing one would be beneficial to protect one's eyes.

However they all seem to cover for normal spectacles which it is every calender year. Am I correct to say that if I take PHI in Nov, I can get a pair now (in 2009) and another pair next year 2010?

alanb, can you please confirm if IMAN is only an option for non-PR people reason for your change to Medibank once you got PR? I have PR.

On website IMAN (http://www.austhealth.com/index.php) got a strategic alliance with NIB. So once on PR, members can change to their alliance partner for insurance. Any reason for not continuing with their alliance partner NIB?

Candide

Go for the higher limits. One of the reasons we chose Medibank is that the extras cover gives you 2 free dental checkups and cleanings a year each. Given the cost of dental here that is a big "discount". Choose your extras cover wisely. If you really must have a massage or go for acupuncture, fine, but make sure it covers the right stuff like dental and optical effectively.

Medibank do pay for transition lenses (just got my first pair) but it depends on the extras cover you choose. They don't pay for prescription sunglasses and my understanding is that none of them do. I think you can get a pair every year but they only pay $250 on the best extras cover. See their comparison table http://www.medibank.com.au/Client/Document...rison_Table.pdf

Unfortunately, IMAN, is only for non-PR. We would definitely have stuck with them.

I don't remember the exact reason we didn't go with NIB after IMAN but I think it was because Medibank has better coverage options overall. The other thing is that Medibank is government owned, so I felt that I would be less likely to have a bad outcome.

I just recently had to use my coverage for a gall bladder removal surgery and there were no problems at all. The hospital contacts them and everything gets settled with the hospital directly, apart from my excess payment of course.

Hope that helps,

Alan

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We are on Queensland Business skills (provisional) visa 164 and we aren’t entitled to Medicare and would appreciate recommendations on private medical insurance company and what plan/cover to choose for a couple and a three year old. We are looking for a health care insurance plan that would cover surgery and hospitalisation, pregnancy stuff, optometrist, dentist, orthodontist, chronic (diabetes, blood pressure) etc.

Get all the cover you need upfront. remember that if you upgrade your cover, you will have to wait 12 months for the higher benefits if you have pre-existing conditions.

So, if you are planning on falling pregnant, make sure you have the cover for it and for any pre-natal problems that may arise. Get the IMAN 320 plan. Its expensive but it covers everything and one pregnancy will more than pay for it. We had some pre-natal problems and it would have cost us thousands if we didn't have the full cover. They pay 100% of out-patient costs including dental etc. as well (you cannot get outpatient cover once you become PR is why I mention it)

If anybody who took private medical insurance can share which one they chose, how good the service is, how fast get refund, % refund over claim amount, limits etc, is it Australia-wide coverage in case move to another state? Having a 3 year old will mean going to GPs/doctors/paediatricians for the usual cold, ear infection etc. How good are they? How easy it to get prescriptions from doctors and what is is the dispensing fee by chemist?

IMAN will pay 100% of all your medications. When you become PR you have to pay a max of around $36 per prescription and Medicare pays the rest. Definitely shop around for drugs. Some smaller, independent pharmacies will always charge you the $36 anyway in my experience. Go to the chain pharmacies like Terry White or Chemist Wharehouse and even shop online. I have a chronic medication prescription for a drug which costs me $17.99 at terry White whereas the independent charged me $36. Thats half price and over a year its nearly $200. If you do have chronic medication you can claim a better rebate from medicare once you get over $1500 a year. Also, register for the safety net as son as you can when you are on Medicare. All your families doctors bills are totaled and you get a rebate on out patient fees. You will be surprised how quickly it adds up with kids in the house or a few specialist visits.

I also heard that for private medical insurance, one incur penalties or higher premium for every year over 30years? Is that correct?

You will incur penalties anyway if you dont get it as a temporary resident. an extra 1.5% tax. You must have cover for every single day of the year to get exemption (Or from the date you arrive to the end of the tax year. At the end of the tax year, you have to apply to Medicare for an exemption certificate, you must then send the original to the tax office to claim the exemption.

Did anybody have to convert a South African prescription to an Australian prescription for chronic medication? How do we go about that? How many months prescription can we take to Australia, is it 3 months or 6 months?

I brought a years supply of medication with me which I claimed from my Canadian insurance co. I declared my medication but was not asked how much I had with me and they let me through without checking so I dont know what the "legal" amount is. I am sure though, that if it is not a narcotic of sorts they will let it through if it is over a limit. You cannot "convert" a prescription, you will have to see a doctor and he/she will have to determine themselves whether to continue it. There should not be a problem though.

ALSO,

Buy your overseas visitors cover insurance online before you come, saves you buying travel insurance and gives you much better coverage.

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Something I found out this week. Ambulance is not covered on medicare so if you rely on medicare only and need an ambulance you will be charged unless you have paid St John ambulance for cover, evidently about $50 a year.

Susan

In QLD on your electricity bill each house is charged for ambulance $16.82/pm. It annoys people who have a holiday get away home, becuase they pay twice but can only be in one place at a time. When you get your private health cover they factor that in to the cost. Hence the cost in each state is different

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Alan,

Thank you for your clarification and circulating the Medibank extra cover comparison table.

It confirms my choice as I need to apply for PHI before I turn 30yrs else the LHC loading (of 2% per year) kicks in.

Wanted to get some sunglasses but expensive and thought of getting transition lenses instead but the optometrist said they are not good for driving but didn't get any reason why. Are you happy with your optometrist's service? Which one did you go to?

Candide

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Alan,

Thank you for your clarification and circulating the Medibank extra cover comparison table.

It confirms my choice as I need to apply for PHI before I turn 30yrs else the LHC loading (of 2% per year) kicks in.

Wanted to get some sunglasses but expensive and thought of getting transition lenses instead but the optometrist said they are not good for driving but didn't get any reason why. Are you happy with your optometrist's service? Which one did you go to?

Candide

See my PM.

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Hi,

zetman, really appreciate it. By using the right terminology with the various providers of private cover will minimise the confusion/misunderstanding if we are PR or not and accordingly get appropriate quotes and advice.

alanb, no pregnancy planned but will need orthodontist treatment for myself (got a quote of AUD6,800) and chronic medication for hubby and son. Is IMAN the best "Overseas Visitors Cover" compared to BUPA HBA and MDF. Did you do the homework and IMAN came 1st as your preferred personal choice or was it chosen by the company you worked for?

LeeInOz, point taken for ambulance. Will be based in Brisbane so will get the monthly ambulance fee on electricity bill. How does it work when travel to other states within Australia and/or overseas, do we then go to the provider and give them the dates to buy cover for that specific period only or does the provider offer ambulance cover for an additional AUD amount monthly in case we travel outside Qld?

Thanx in advance.

Jennifer

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I signed up with Medibank Private about 2 months ago, very happy with them so far.

Jill

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alanb, no pregnancy planned but will need orthodontist treatment for myself (got a quote of AUD6,800) and chronic medication for hubby and son. Is IMAN the best "Overseas Visitors Cover" compared to BUPA HBA and MDF. Did you do the homework and IMAN came 1st as your preferred personal choice or was it chosen by the company you worked for?

It was not a company thing. It was 3 years ago but I did do a fair bit of research although I cant remember all the ins and outs now. IMAN has a very high hospital cover and I figured that as we had absolutely no claim to any Medicare benefit it was better to have as much cover as possible. You know how life goes..... having been a customer of theirs for the three years until we got PR I can vouch for them being a really great company to deal with. No nonsense ever and 100% of all claims paid. They do cover a good amount of dental but check how much, a problem now for you of course is that your condition is a known condition so will not be covered for a year.

LeeInOz, point taken for ambulance. Will be based in Brisbane so will get the monthly ambulance fee on electricity bill. How does it work when travel to other states within Australia and/or overseas, do we then go to the provider and give them the dates to buy cover for that specific period only or does the provider offer ambulance cover for an additional AUD amount monthly in case we travel outside Qld?

IMAN = Air & Road Ambulance throughout Australia, Funeral Expenses & Medical repatriation to your home country

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