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Health Insurance Explained

All residents of Australia are entitled to affordable accessible high quality health care. In Australia the public health insurance scheme is known as Medicare. Private health insurance is quite different.

If you prefer to seek treatment privately then you must take out private health insurance. The benefit of such insurance is patients have more control over their treatment options and doctors. What this means is if a person wants an elective surgery for example, the waiting time can be dramatically reduced if the patient is privately insured.

The basic idea behind all types of insurance is the individual pays a premium to the insurer and in return receives coverage for any medical expenses incurred. Private insurance will cover either all or some part of the cost of services frequently not offered by the government run scheme. This can include ambulance services and physiotherapy for example.

You have the option of choosing Medicare or opting for a combination of Medicare with private health insurance. In contrast to other types of insurance policy health insurance premiums do not increase with age, health status or other types of risk factors. The reason for this is that consumers must be protected from having to pay higher premiums the more likely they are to make a claim which is when they get older or if they get sick.

Private health insurance in Australia is regulated by the Government but rules for individual schemes vary and sometimes individual state rules also vary. All schemes have minimum waiting periods and other types of conditions before they pay out benefits.

The Government of Australia provides rebates to individuals who take out private health insurance policies and is available to any Australian resident who is entitled to receive full Medicare benefits.

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