As we focus on our health this week, we have a guest post from HealthInsuranceComparison.com.
Many people choose to buy health insurance to skip public hospital waiting times and/or to avoid out-of-pocket costs for services that aren’t covered by Medicare. In this scenario, having the right type of health insurance policy is mostly a case of finding one that best fits your health needs and your budget.
For those who are into wellbeing and fitness, you may want to take your search a step further and look for a health fund that will help out with these kind of services. Some will offer support for healthy living, such as gym memberships and remedial massage – which can be great if you were already going to spend money on these areas. In this guest post, we look at some of the options for doing this.
Extras Cover: Remedial Massage
Remedial Massage is used to treat muscle injuries and is based on the belief that most pain originates in soft tissue. It is often available on Extras cover, particularly for mid to high level policies. Not all health funds offer it though so you’ll need to shop around to make sure that it is included. On some Extras policies, it may come under Complementary or Alternative Therapies, rather than being a stand-alone service. This can be important if it isn’t the only therapy that you intend to use as the annual limit will apply across the board (and not just for Remedial Massage services).
Extras Cover: Naturopathy
Naturopathy usually falls into Natural or Complementary Therapies on Extras cover. The more basic Extras policies often exclude Natural Therapies in favour of popular choices such as dental, optical and physiotherapy. If it is included on basic Extras cover, the annual limit will tend to be low and this can be problematic if you intend to use more than one type of Natural Therapy.
Extras Cover: Acupuncture
Medicare covers acupuncture if it forms part of a doctor’s consultation but for the most part, you will need Extras cover to access acupuncture services. Again, it usually comes under Complementary or Alternative Therapies. Depending on the health fund, it may be included on a basic Extras policy – albeit with low limits and more potential for out-of-pocket costs.
If you think that you will use more than one type of Natural Therapy over the course of a year, look for a mid to high level Extras policy with more generous annual limits.
Extras Cover: Physio/Chiro/Osteo
Out-of-hospital services such as physiotherapy, chiropractic and osteopathy are generally not covered by Medicare so you will need to have an appropriate level of Extras cover for this. Physio and chiro are often included on even basic Extras policies, although the annual limits will tend to be on the low side). Osteo may also feature on low level Extras cover but this won’t always be the case so it’s worth shopping around if you plan to use it.
It’s not that uncommon for two or more of these services to be bundled together, in which case it’s worth bearing in mind that the annual limit will need to stretch across both or all of them.
Some health funds offer discounts for members, and these will generally be lifestyle-related. It is common to get discounts if you use their partners for things like buying fitness gear and going to the gym, for example. Depending on the health fund, discounts may extend to optical services and leisure activities.
Money Back on Fitness Expenditure
Some health funds allow you to get money back on fitness related services such as gym memberships, personal training sessions, group exercises classes and sports gear and equipment.
There are usually limits on how much you can claim per year for each refund. A lot will depend on the amount that you spend on fitness over the course of the average year compared to the costs of purchasing the cover.
You don’t necessarily need to be a member of a complying health fund to take advantage of these kind of deals, although it is sometimes a member-only benefit. In either scenario, it is not actually a health insurance policy and therefore doesn’t count for Medicare Levy Surcharge or Lifetime Health Cover purposes.
Health Insurance Comparison did not pay for this post, but they are one of our sponsors.