CHOOSING the right health insurance at one point in your life may mean it’s vastly different from what you need at a later stage.
While deciphering health insurance is tough enough for the average consumer, insurer Medibank has revealed the most common hospital and extras claims members make according to their age.
Dental and optical remain the top two extra claims for all age groups, but hospital cover claims show a stark contrast in what people claim for at different times during their life.
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For those in their 20s, hospital claims are most common for psychiatry or dentistry while those two areas don’t even make it in the top two claims for those in their 30s where obstetrics and gynaecology dominate.
And the average cost of childbirth reimbursed by Medibank was significant — in 2016 it was $9421.
Medibank’s chief customer officer David Kozckar said Australians should be aware their policies need to be regularly reviewed because claims they need to make now might differ greatly in 10 years time.
“There are really important times in your life where your health needs change and your risks change and just like going to the doctor you shouldn’t set and forget your health insurance,’’ he said.
“If you are upgrading your cover to a higher cover we do have waiting periods associated with them so it’s important to take an active interest in your health.
“We have 800 people on the phone everyday doing 1000 (customers) reviews everyday so we can anticipate needs early.”
For those in their 40s gastrointestinal endoscopies and psychiatry are the top two hospital claims and for those in their 50s and 60s its also gastrointestinal endoscopies and rehabilitation.
But consumer group Choice’s spokesman Tom Godfrey said all consumers shouldn’t just rush in and sign up to health insurance, instead they should work out if you need it and if so what cover is right for you.
“It’s important to understand that every Australian already has health cover through Medicare and that deciding to go private means you need to consider the costs, out-of-pocket expenses and value for money,’’ he said.
“If you need cover, a top level hospital cover with an increased excess is often better value than reducing your cover.
“Read the product disclosure statement carefully, pay close attention to waiting periods and out of pocket expenses.”