How would you like to take control of your health insurance coverage? Moments from now, you could learn how to better manage your health coverage, while at the same time easily protecting your family from outrageous health care costs. The Australian health system focuses on providing everyone with a complete all-in-one package with access to physical and mental cover. Currently known as Medicare; the program works in conjunction with the nation’s private health care system. It’s funded by 1.5% of an income tax levy. High-income earners contribute an additional 1% to the levy.

Created in 1984, Medicare is the national program that subsidizes services as well as a good deal of prescription medicines. The program provides free or subsidized payments to public hospitals and health care professionals for certain services. The goal is to offer high quality health care, at an affordable amount, for all Australian residents regardless of their income or circumstances.

Aside from Medicare, you also have the option of private health cover. And with all the different health covers available, choosing the right cover for you and your family can be confusing. Companies offering private policies have different rules and regulations. When you get a clear understanding of what your options are, you can avoid unexpected costs and virtually eliminate problems with having important procedures and services covered.

Some companies don’t offer comprehensive services in order to identify private health care funding that suits your profile and which you can use at both private and public hospitals. With private health cover you have a wider range of doctors, clinics and hospitals to choose from. Private health insurance covers some services that are not covered by the Medicare program like dental, podiatry, chiropractic, and optical services. A couple of the biggest advantages of private health cover is shorter waiting times for elective surgery and less demand for public hospital beds.

Health cover can be purchased for singles, couples, the entire family or as a single parent.  Something to be mindful of is that the government is now income testing the rebate offered on private health insurance. Many companies now allow you to save money right off the bat by claiming the rebate as a reduction on your premium. And adding hospital covers are the best way to avoid paying the Medicare levy surcharge.

Based on what you need, you can choose any health cover combination that is right for you. As you probably already know, there are two types of private health insurance. There are hospital policies that cover you anytime you go to the hospital. By the same token, there are general treatment policies that cover you for different ancillary treatments or extras.  Several health funds offer a combination of both polices. However, you are at liberty to purchase each cover separately.

If this is the first time you are purchasing cover or you are simply upgrading your plan, remember that there is a waiting period enforced before you can claim your benefits. You may or may not receive any benefits during the waiting period for certain treatments. If you do receive benefits they may be lowered for a certain amount of time.

Take the time to review what is and what is not covered on your policy. You see, not all policies are comprehensive. Depending on your level of cover, your policy may not fully cover all costs associated with your treatment. The end result may be that you have to pay some out-of-pocket expenses.

Make no mistake about it, with a little planning and clarity on what you and your family needs, you can get essential health cover without blowing your budget. Private health insurers and Medicare work together to give all Australians the best possible health care available. Take advantage of the government rebates offered and only purchase the cover you actually need.