Whether you are switching health insurer or buying health insurance for the first time there are a few points that you should consider before you make up your mind:
1. Cover for private accommodation in public hospitals in most cases does not guarantee fast access to treatment. Make sure you have a plan with some access to private hospitals. Even if it only covers a portion of the charges it's better than not having any access to these hospitals or being faced with extremely large bills for treatment you needed in a hurry.
2. Check that hospitals local to you are not excluded and don't have excesses applied to accommodation. Most people prefer to be close to home when they are sick or in hospital so that friends or relatives can visit or be close at hand should they be needed in an emergency.
3. Check that there are no shortfalls on specific treatments or procedures such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy, orthopaedic. Where there is a shortfall on orthopaedic treatments consider the likelihood of you needing any of these treatments in the near future. Young people are less likely to need these treatments than older people. You may be able to upgrade in the future if affordability is an issue right now.
4. Check that you have full cover for day case treatment such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and colonoscopies in private hospitals - these procedures account for 60 -70% of all health insurance claims.
5. Try to ensure you have cover for direct settlement MRI and CT scan centres which are local to you. This means you won't have to wait to get access and you don't need to pay if they are classified as 'direct settlement' centres.
6. Try to ensure you have cover for major cardiac procedures in all the main private hospitals and hi-tech or specialist centres
7. Check that there is a low outpatient excess, this will ensure you get more money back from your outpatient expenses.
8. If you want cover for day-to-day benefits such as GP, Physiotherapist and dentist ensure that you are getting long-term value for money - check the cover for each benefit & how many visits are covered per benefit. Do you really need this cover right now? If you have young children or you are undergoing regular treatment it may be worthwhile however if not then weigh up how much you are paying for these benefits and how much you are likely to use them. Some of these plans can cost five of six times the price of seeing a doctor so if you usually only attend a doctor once or twice a year it may not be worthwhile having this type of cover.
9. Check for any other benefits that may be of interest to you - health screening, maternity benefits, kid's benefits etc.
10. Consider the health insurance needs of all the family individually - consider different plan & levels of cover for each. You might choose to have the children on one level plan and the adults on another.