The rising cost of health funds is making me sick

In the past few days I received the annual notice from my health fund informing me that on the 1st April, my insurance premiums will be rising. There’s nothing new in that announcement – health fund premiums rise every year.

But this year I noticed something different…. This year, they have informed me that my benefits will be decreasing. Obviously, I decided to inspect these items more closely…

A general decrease overall was my observation and I expect I’ll just have to work around that. But the one major concern is the fact that I am currently only covered for one emergency ambulance trip per year. (as a single) Couples get two trips.

In NSW, the ambulance cover is included in your hospital cover through a health fund. If you don’t have hospital cover but would still like ambulance cover then you need to organise this through a health fund.

So I rang my health fund and clarified their position on this. Yes – I can have one emergency trip per year. Then I explained the reason for my concern …

I live in a regional area. If I was to have a heart attack, (for example) the ambulance would come and take me to the hospital. Yes, the consultant agreed that was my entitlement.

But what if I needed some urgent heart surgery that is not available in this area? I would then be transported by ambulance to the airport where I would be transported to a major city via Air Ambulance. The consultant then agreed that was two more trips and I would be liable to pay for them.

My health fund – Bupa – describes it as this –

Emergency ambulance transport can be costly, emergency air transport can exceed $5000 which is why you should take out appropriate cover. Bupa offers Emergency Only Ambulance Cover, from $37.30 a year, which gives you access to emergency ambulance transport services nationwide, but more importantly peace of mind.

Where has my peace of mind gone?

Well, I told the consultant that I would probably die because I couldn’t afford to get into the second and third ambulances. She said there was nothing she could do except offer me a more comprehensive cover at another cost to my already escalating premium.

That’s not good enough!

I already pay them a lot of money and much of their ‘benefits’ are of no good use to me. At my age, why would I even be considering fertility treatment, pregnancy or obstetric services? The whole ante/post natal services have never been relevant to me, yet I have still had to pay for them.

My budget can’t afford another price rise, and my budget can’t afford their decrease in benefits. It’s time to vote with my feet and find somewhere else a bit cheaper. In looking around I find there are funds that allow me to pick what I wish to be covered for and at what level and so I’m sure I’ll find a package that suits my current budget.

I’ve seen policies that are $70 cheaper than my current arrangement and which suit me better. That’s $840 per year!

And what I’ve also decided to do is to put the difference between what I’m currently paying and the new policy into a savings account. That way I know I’ll definitely be saving and will have some extra funds to cover any health emergencies that are not covered completely.

And you can be sure that my ambulance cover will be the most comprehensive that I can get.



©   Carmel McCartin – Budget Bitch

And don’t forget – (The views expressed in this blog are the personal opinions of the author. Don’t rely on them to make financial decisions; you have to make up your own mind. If you don’t like the content – then either stop reading or send me an email)

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