While Australians are entitled to public hospital treatment, there are big advantages to having private health cover. Private cover can provide support for general health and wellbeing, peace of mind and may deliver tax savings if you have a taxable income above $90,000 ($180,000 for couples). And like any form of insurance, it really shines when you find yourself faced with an unexpected setback - like needing hospital treatment.
We've all heard stories about public hospital waiting lists. As a public patient you have very little control over when you are treated, who treats you or which hospital you go to.
Here are a few examples of the average wait times for treatment in a public hospital under Medicare*:
And that's not the worst of it - plenty of people on the list waited longer than this.* Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australian hospital statistics 2014-2015: elective surgery waiting times. Waiting times at the 50th percentile. Report dated October 2015.
To avoid these waiting lists, the alternative is to be treated at a private hospital which can be very expensive. Without health insurance, you could be up for tens of thousands of dollars and, in some cases, you may need to pay upfront.
Here are a few examples of what private hospital procedures could cost you without health insurance*:
nib's private hospital cover helps you avoid public hospital waiting lists, pays benefits toward the cost of private treatment and also allows you to (subject to availability):