Why have private health insurance?

We get this question a lot. We’re extremely lucky in Australia to have a great public healthcare system. So why have private cover if the public system is so good?

There are plenty of reasons why people choose to have private cover. Here are some of the most common:

  • While you will receive treatment in the public system, there is no guarantee who your doctor will be or where your treatment will be. Having private health insurance gives you the flexibility to choose your doctor and hospital. 
  • Avoid long waits – Elective surgery waiting lists can be long – according to figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the median waiting time in 2017–18 for elective surgery in public hospitals was 41 days overall. By having private cover, you can essentially jump the queue and have your surgery when it suits you.
  • Cover for the things you value – looking after your health can be expensive. Depending on your level of Extras cover, you can claim for things like glasses, contact lenses, physio, chiro, prescriptions, vitamins, preventative health tests, dieticians, outpatient travel – and so much more, up to your annual limit. Waiting periods do apply. Check our policy summaries for the full range of services covered and applicable waiting periods. 
  • Dental cover – Medicare doesn’t provide benefits for dental care, meaning that costs can quickly add up if you require treatment. Having Extras cover can help you reduce or avoid dental costs – for example, Westfund members with an Extras policy are completely covered for selected preventative dental services, including check-ups, scales, cleans, x-ray, mouth guard and fluoride treatments at any Westfund Dental Provider of Choice Network dentist, up to their annual limit (waiting periods may apply). 
  • Less tax – depending on your taxable income, you may have to pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) if you don’t have private hospital cover.

More reasons why people have private health insurance

Financial incentives and surcharges

  1. Lifetime Health Cover
  2. Australian Government Rebate on private health insurance
  3. Medicare Levy Surcharge
  4. Age-Based Discounts