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Extras cover is an important type of private health insurance. It covers many preventative and non-hospital types of treatment which are provided to millions of Australians every year. Having the right extras cover could save you a significant amount of money, which is why it’s important to compare policies carefully to find a deal that offers the best value for your family’s unique needs.
Savvy can make your search for great extras cover simpler by allowing you to compare a variety of free, no-obligation quotes from leading insurance providers, helping you determine where the best value lies for you. Get started with a free online quote today.
What is extras cover?
Extras cover is a type of private health insurance which enables you to claim benefits for many out–of–hospital health carel services or treatments which aren’t covered under Medicare. An extras cover policy can include cover for common treatments or services like podiatry, dental, physiotherapy, chiropractic and more. Extras cover can prove immensely beneficial to your health and hip pocket if you take advantage of the benefits on offer. For example, regular teeth cleaning by a dentist can prevent plaque build-up, which can lead to the need for root canal work or even tooth extraction surgery.
Extras cover is different to hospital cover, which is more focused on the cost of treatments and other services within a hospital setting. If you’re looking for comprehensive cover for both in-hospital and out-of-hospital treatment, combined hospital and extras policies are available to purchase from a wide range of insurers.
What does extras cover include?
Extras cover can include some, or all, of the following:
- Optical (contact lenses and glasses)
- Chiropractic treatment
- General dental (check-ups and more simple dental procedures)
- Major dental (teeth removal, root canals, dentures and sometimes cosmetic procedures)
- Orthodontics (braces and aligners)
- Speech therapy
- Remedial massage
- Non-PBS medications (those not listed under the PBS)
- Psychology and other mental health treatments
- Hearing aids (supply and fitting)
- Dietetics (nutrition assistance and diet or weight loss programs)
- Gym memberships (may be offered by some insurers subject to specific conditions)
- Travel vaccinations
How do I compare extras cover?
The priority in determining what extras cover is best for you is to identify which servicesyou need based on your health situation. For example, if you play sports, you may wish to prioritise physiotherapy in your extras cover. If you have back issues or are in a line of work that is high-intensity and strenuous, chiropractic cover may be a good option to consider.
While many extras options may be appealing, it’s important to not go over the top and instead restrict your cover to extras you’re more likely to need and use. For instance, if you’re in your 20s and have no hearing issues, you likely won’t need cover for hearing aids until you’re much older.
In addition, your income will play a role in determining what extras cover you can afford. It can prove costly if you choose an array of inclusions that are not relevant to your specific needs. More expensive extras policies may give you access to a greater number of benefits and higher claim limits but will set you back more overall than a cheaper policy, so it’s important to weigh up your priorities.
Make sure you explore all options thoroughly. You don’t have to have your hospital cover and extras cover with the same insurer, so you may choose to split them between two different health funds. Savvy can help you compare a range of free quotes for health insurance. By comparing policies carefully and reading the product information documents provided by different insurers, you can compare policies side-by-side with more confidence.
How much does extras cover cost?
The cost of your insurance will depend on several factors, including:
- the level of cover you choose
- any extras you opt to pay for
- your life stage when you take out the policy
Taking out extras cover will generally cost you less than hospital cover. However, this doesn’t negate the need for hospital cover given its many benefits. Both options offer cover for a different type of health service and there isn’t any overlap between the two.
Ultimately, the cost of your extras cover will come down to the level of policy you opt for and its included services. An extras policy with top-level cover will cost more than one that offers cover for a more limited range of services. In addition, a singles policy will cost less than for a family.
Additionally, it’s worth considering the amount you’ll pay out of pocket for treatments and services. This will ultimately depend on what your healthcare provider charges and whether they have a specific agreement with your insurer, as well as what the level of extras cover you’ve chosen to take out is. Your policy may offer a fixed dollar amount for their cover or a set percentage of a fee you pay.
Types of health insurance
This can help you pay for medical treatment if you need to be admitted to hospital. It can help cover the cost of your admission or accommodation and the fees charged by doctors, surgeons and anaesthetists. It can also cover other costs associated with a stay in a private hospital.
This helps cover the costs of health care treatments outside a hospital setting which aren’t covered by Medicare. This can include major and minor dental treatment, orthodontics, hearing aids, physiotherapy, glasses, contact lenses and podiatry (in most cases with annual limits).
This is a standard health insurance policy designed for a single person, rather than being tailored to cater to the needs of a couple or family. It may include hospital cover plus extras, or either of these types of insurance on their own, depending on what you're after for your health cover.
A family health insurance policy is designed for a family unit including dependent children who may reach up to 31 years of age with some insurers. It offers private health insurance suitable for the whole family and may include shared limits for all members included in your policy.
A health insurance policy aimed at seniors is designed to appeal to people who are in the second half of their life. These are often specific Silver Plus policies that offer the same cover as other health insurance policies, with the exception that pregnancy and childbirth cover may not be included.
Visitors who are in Australia on a temporary basis for travel, work or study may be able to take out Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC). Many visas issued in Australia come with a requirement to take out this type of insurance, which covers visitors who may not be covered by Medicare.
Ambulance cover is generally available either packaged into your private health insurance or on its own as a separate policy or subscription. By having this protection, you could be covered for all eligible ambulance travel in Australia (subject to your insurer's terms and conditions).
The cheapest and most barebones form of private hospital insurance, this can include cover for rehab, in-hospital psychiatric services and palliative care. Having this policy will enable you to avoid paying the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) and Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading.
Bronze hospital cover is a step up from basic insurance, including 18 further clinical categories such as ear, nose and throat, bone, joint and muscle, digestive system, joint reconstructions, gynaecology and chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy for cancer.
Silver hospital cover is the second-most expensive type of policy and offers the second-most clinical categories. On top of what's offered by basic and bronze cover, it also includes heart and vascular system, lung and chest, blood, hearing device implantation and dental surgery.
The highest level of private hospital insurance available in Australia, gold policies can offer cover for pregnancy and birth, weight loss surgery, assisted reproductive services and insulin pumps on top of all the categories provided by silver, bronze and basic hospital insurance.
Why compare health insurance through Savvy?
Pros and cons of extras cover
Reduce out-of-pocket expenses
Extras cover can reduce the amount you have to pay out-of-pocket for a range of services and treatments not covered by Medicare or hospital insurance.
Can offer cover for dental treatment
Extras cover can include free dental check-ups and cleaning, which is a common expense and may potentially prevent more serious dental issues from developing.
Assistance with the cost of pregnancy
Extras cover can provide relief from some of the costs of prenatal and obstetrics care, depending on the policy you choose and the coverage it offers.
Preventative health checks
Preventative health checks can be covered by an extras health insurance policy, which can assist with the early identification of developing health issues.
Can be under-utilised
Some customers don’t take full advantage of the extras cover available on their policy, potentially losing out on the benefits available and spending money where they don’t need to.
Extras cover isn’t always simple, with many terms and conditions and exclusions to get your head around. Comparing through Savvy can help you understand what is and isn’t covered.
Can still incur out-of-pocket costs
There may still be additional ‘gap’ costs you may have to pay out-of-pocket even though you do have private health insurance. Such gap costs arise when your health care provider charges more for their services than your health insurer’s rebate.
Top tips for getting the best extras cover
When choosing your extras cover, prioritise protection for the services you’ll actually use and try to avoid paying for cover you don’t think you’ll need. This way, you can help streamline your policy and pay for what you need and not what you don’t.
Once you have taken out your extras cover, enjoy and use the additional benefits you are now entitled. There may be waiting periods, but once these are over it could be time to get yourself that new pair of prescription sunglasses or give your teeth a check-up.
It’s important to know what your policy’s annual limits are. This way, you can ensure you don’t reach it and end up having to pay more than you bargained for. Make sure you’re aware when your annual benefits renew into a new benefit year so that you can make the most of the cover you’re paying for.
To make sure you are getting great value for your health insurance dollar, make sure to give your health insurance policy its own check-up at least once a year. Compare offers through Savvy regularly to help you keep up to date with the latest deals.
Frequently asked questions about extras cover
Helpful health insurance guides
Looking for health insurance to cover your condition or treatment?
Read one of our helpful guides on a range of different ailments and potential hospital or extras treatments to help you find out if they're covered.
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