How does health insurance change as you get older?

We’re living longer and enjoying more years of good health, but at the same time, reaching the seniors years could be associated with certain ageing conditions. Getting older could mean a higher risk of different health conditions. Certain services won’t be relevant for your life stage, and these might include things like fertility treatment and obstetrics. However, you’ll likely want to be covered for other options. These could be things like hearing aids, preventative tests, cardiac-related procedures, palliative care, and hospital accommodation in a private room. You might need to go to a higher tier of coverage to access the coverage you need or opt for a policy designed for seniors’ needs.

Losing a partner

Your health insurance can also change if you lose a partner. It’s something we’d all prefer not to think about, but if you do lose your partner, you’ll need to switch your policy from a couples policy to a singles one. The level of coverage you have might stay the same, or you could switch to more comprehensive cover to meet your changing needs.

Government incentives

If you don’t have hospital insurance, you might need to pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge. The Lifetime Health Cover loading could affect you if you wait a long time before taking out hospital insurance. Additionally, turning 65 or 70 will mean you’re eligible for a higher Private Health Insurance Rebate on your premiums, making them cheaper. This applies as long as you earn $140,000 or less as a single or $280,000 or less as a couple.

How old should I be before I start considering seniors health insurance?

Seniors health insurance is typically designed to cover singles or couples over the age of 50 or around retirement age. If you’ve reached your golden years, it could be a good time to review your health insurance and update your cover so it matches the requirement of your current life stage.

What are the benefits of senior health cover?

Having senior health cover means you’ll have health insurance designed for the unique requirements of your current life stage. Your insurance coverage will better fit your priorities and potential health status. This could mean better cover for common conditions that affect seniors as well as for extra items like at-home nursing, theatre fees, and intensive care, spending on the specific policy.

Coverage beyond Medicare

At the same time, you’ll enjoy all the other benefits of having private health coverage. This includes being covered for more than what Medicare offers (and additional concessions with a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card and the Medicare Safety Net). Medicare might offer a minimal amount of coverage compared to what you need as a senior. Under Medicare, you can’t choose your own doctor. With private insurance, you have more control over your own healthcare, including choice of hospital and doctor without long waiting periods.

Australia’s public health system might be adequate for emergency situations, but in the cases when you do need elective surgery or in-hospital treatment, you might need to wait for months. This can have a big impact on your quality of life during a time when you’re prioritising good health more than ever before. So having private health insurance could support you in getting on the road to recovery quickly.

If you have extras cover, you could pay less or little out of pocket for things like dental care, glasses, and contact lenses. You’ll likely get coverage for treatments like physiotherapy, occupational therapy, eye therapy, chiropractic services, and podiatry services, which are largely not covered by Medicare.

Other benefits

Health insurance could make preventative healthcare treatment like exercise classes, physiotherapy, and chiropractic services more affordable, and this could support you in enjoying a higher level of well-being. And as noted above, government rebates increase as you get older, so health insurance could be more cost-effective during your senior years than you might expect.

Your senior years are an important period for taking care of your health and looking after yourself. Having insurance could facilitate your good health, well-being, and stress-free recovery from major health issues.

How old should my children be before I consider moving off family cover?

Your children might move off your family cover as soon as they turn 18. However, your fund might consider any full-time student under 25 to be a dependent. If you still want them to be covered through your family policy after this, your fund might allow it but charge a higher premium.

Enjoying good health throughout your senior years is probably a major priority for you, and having the right private health insurance can support this goal. Seniors health insurance packages tend to be more closely tailored to your needs, and they can offer a safety net, giving you more control over your health and helping you get the right treatment and care when you most need it.