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Should I take out health insurance while I’m young?

6 minute read
Young male eating an apple in a park

The media gives young people a bad rap, with articles citing us as lazy and social media-addicted – we’ve even been accused of killing off entire industries (RIP the paper napkin).

But, behind all these myths, is a generation that is exercising more, eating smarter and smoking less than our elders. For young people, good health is far more than ‘not getting sick’, it’s our most important asset.

Which is why it’s so important to protect it.

At nib, we’re passionate about making health insurance products that are smart enough to keep up with your busy lifestyle, but simple enough for you to use all year round. So, to help you decide whether it’s right for you, we’ve put together seven reasons why you should consider taking out private health insurance while you’re young.

1. You'll avoid the Lifetime Health Cover loading

The Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading is a government initiative to encourage young people to take up private hospital cover earlier on in life, so if you’re under the age of 31, there’s no better time to sign up.

If you don’t take out private hospital cover by 1 July following your 31st birthday, you’ll be charged a 2% loading for every year you're over the age of 30 when you do take out a hospital policy. With the LHC loading lasting for 10 years and at a maximum of 70%, it’s definitely a good idea to take out a hospital policy sooner rather than later.

If you’re preparing to blow out 31 candles, our Lifetime Health Cover article has more information on the topic.

2. You’ll receive discounts

If you’re under 30, you’re in luck. Not only is your creativity at a peak, but when it comes to nib private hospital insurance, you’ll automatically receive discounts of up to 10%.

It’s called an age-based discount and it’s automatically applied to every nib hospital insurance product taken up by members who are under 30. Eligible nib members receive a 2% discount for every year that they’re aged less than 30, up to a maximum of 10% for those aged 18-25. And, the best part is if you remain on an age-based discount policy, you’ll retain that discounted rate until you turn 41, when it will then be gradually phased out at a rate of 2% per year.

3. You could save on tax

If you're earning over $90,000 as a single or over $180,000 as a couple, family or single-parent family, you could be affected by the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) if you don't hold private hospital cover for the full financial year. If this sounds like you, you could be up for $900 or more in extra tax if you don’t have the right level of Hospital cover. Visit the Australian Tax Office website for specific rules for calculating income for MLS purposes.

4. You’ll have peace-of-mind

When it comes to accidents, we assume it’ll never happen to us. But, unfortunately that’s not always the case. Last financial year, nib funded over 330,000 hospital admissions and almost 3.8 million Extras visits for our members, amounting to $4.5 million paid in claims per day. The average benefit paid on behalf of our members for a hospital episode was $3,237, which isn’t exactly loose change.

On the majority of our hospital covers, nib offers extra protection against the unexpected with the Accidental Injury Benefit. If you’re an nib member and you seek treatment within 72 hours of an accident with a medical practitioner or at a hospital emergency department, you’ll receive benefits in-line with our top hospital cover for the following 90 days if you’re admitted to hospital.ii

5. You get choice

Without the right cover, wait times in the public system can be weeks, and even months. And if you choose to go to a private hospital without the right cover, your treatment won’t come cheap.

Private hospital cover helps our members avoid public hospital waiting lists, pays benefits toward the cost of private treatment and also allows customers to (subject to availability):

  • Choose the doctors and specialists who treat you (subject to your condition, the size of the hospital and whether the doctor or specialist has practising rights at the hospital)
  • Attend the nib Agreement Private Hospital or day facility of your choice
  • Decide when you’ll be treated with your doctor
  • Stay in a private room

6. You’ll be able to access tools to keep you healthier

We believe health insurance should be good value, which is why we aim to provide a range of benefits, services and inclusions that make being an nib member worthwhile, regardless of the level of cover you take out.

Through nib Rewards, you’ll be able to access a range of exclusive offers from retailers like MYER, JB Hi-Fi and Woolworths. So, whether you’re looking for some new work-out gear or you’re simply trying to eat more fresh fruit and veg, nib Rewards can help you save some serious cash.

Need to find a new physio, dental or optical provider? By using the nib First Choice network, you’ll be able to search our community of selected health professionals who have agreed to provide nib members with quality healthcare, great customer service and value for money.

You’ll also have access to our Going to Hospital tool, which is filled with helpful information on health insurance, how to minimise your out-of-pocket expenses and the best questions to ask your specialist.

7. You’ll receive unlimited emergency ambulance cover

If you require an emergency ambulance, we’ve got you covered1 – and we don’t have any caps on the number of times you use that cover. The average ambulance claim for nib members in the 2018/19 financial year was $974iii, and the most we paid for a member’s ambulance claim over the same period was $37,202. So, if you don’t have private health insurance, you might have to pay a hefty fee. Find out how much you can expect to pay for an ambulance in every state and territory across Australia.

nib members have options when it comes to protecting their health and we encourage you to take a look around and make sure you find the cover that’s right for you. Getting a quote online with nib is simple and takes just a few minutes.

For more information on cover reviews, check out our article, Everything you need to know about reviewing your cover or call 13 14 63 to speak with one of our health insurance experts.

1Not available to residents of Queensland and Tasmania who have ambulance services provided by their State ambulance schemes, or pension and health care card holders who have ambulance services provided by State ambulance schemes (check entitlements with Centrelink if unsure).

iTo be an eligible member you must be aged between 18 and 29 (inclusive) and not a dependent child under the age-based discount policy.

iiExcludes consult at an Emergency Department. Accidental Injury Benefit criteria must be met for approval

iiiAverage ambulance charge incurred by nib members between July 2018 and June 2019 (excluding TAS and QLD residents)

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