Opinion: Health cover has ups and downs

Raelene HallMidwest Times
Dealing with personal health issues and private health insurance can be challenging.
Camera IconDealing with personal health issues and private health insurance can be challenging. Credit: Getty Images/PhotoAlto


Is private health worth it?

There’s a saying “Lord, grant me patience…but hurry”.

I need a copy right now to pin on my wall. Then I’ll throw darts at it.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


My mother always kept private health insurance as Dad invariably spent time in hospital each winter with pneumonia.

Her belief was it should come with a no-claims policy, similar to car insurance.

When we married, my husband and I took out a joint health insurance policy and it was certainly worth it when we had our children and for some other medical issues.

However, what we have paid out over the past 30-plus years, would have covered us for surgery that is not elective but imperative.

It now seems as though you are pushed into using providers that the private funds have a financial relationship with, or you end up out of pocket, in our case by possibly as much as $10,000.

I thought private health was about giving people a choice regarding who took care of their health but now it seems it’s more about them persuading those in the medical/dental fields to sign up with them.

We have the same issue with our dentist whom we have been seeing for many years. If we were to switch to a ‘preferred provider dentist’ of our private health fund, we would be financially better off.

Again, it seems to be removing the option of choice — one of the benefits we thought private health gave us.

Like every form of insurance, we are always being told to reassess every year or two and look for better options. If there is a way of doing this without completely losing your mind, I’d love to hear it.

It always seems a case of what you lose on the roundabouts you gain on the swings and you never really know how much better off you will be with a new insurer until the time comes when you need them. I tried one of those comparison sites only to be bombarded with phone calls from them after.

Of course, there is no option to use them without leaving a phone number.

Our decision has been to have the operation done in a public hospital, as a private patient, by our preferred specialist.

At least this way we know the public hospital will receive some funds from our private health insurer and we don’t get an astronomical bill.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails