My view throughout my whole life has been, why should I buy PHI and then always be out of pocket for other expenses and the gap? Until PHI companies can get there act together and make it a no more to pay no matter what the procedure is then there is no way I will ever pay for it. Been doing this for 40 years already and I am waaaaaaaaay out in front.
Most liked posts in thread: The Future of Private Health Insurance
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From an investment perspective I don't have any rule to specifically avoid PHI companies although I wouldn't want more than one or at most two in the portfolio. If a particular company comes to my attention though, and it ticks the boxes, well sure I'll invest in it.
My reason for caution is that essentially you're investing in a continuation of current government policy and as a concept I dislike that. Just needs whatever political circumstances to change and there goes the value of your investment. Whilst political risk applies to all businesses to some extent, there aren't many that would be more exposed than PHI companies. Banks and energy, whilst subject to intense levels of politics on an ongoing basis, do at least have businesses which stand on their own two feet as such.
At a personal level well it's the proverbial no brainer since it's cheaper for me to have it than to pay the higher Medicare levy.
I've only been in hospital once though in the private system and the reality doesn't match the hype in my view. Still ended up on a 3 month waiting list for surgery with a specialist surgeon. That's probably better than I'd have done in the public system but it's a long way short of what's promised.
there was an article on this today
i also agree private health insurance isn't in great shape. i've been living overseas for a few years now, but in the years leading up to my departure, i was basically forced to take out private health for the same reason as Smurf - i would've had to pay more for the medicare surcharge levy than it cost me to take out mid range hospital cover.
i've only been admitted to hospital once, in my late 20s. since i had the mid range hospital cover, i thought why don't i go private, that should cover it. boy was i wrong. it covered the cost of the hospital stay, but i was out of pocket around $2K for the surgery itself (getting my inflamed appendix taken out). it was only when it was time to pay the bill that i learned how gaps and scheduled fees worked, and i realised what a joke the system is, i should've just gone public instead. my fault for not reading up on those things beforehand, but when you're in pain and fearing for your health, you're not really thinking about costs at that point!
the scheduled fee is supposed to reflect a "fair price" that a medical practitioner would reasonably charge for their services. i still remember reading the form that showed me the breakdown of costs for my treatment in absolute disbelief. it listed the scheduled fee for the anaesthetist as $45 an hour, somewhere around that for the surgeons as well (this was in the late 2000s).
you've gotta be s#$%ing me! who seriously thinks $45 an hour is fair compensation for all the years of study and training that these practitioners have to go thru, as well as maintaining their professional memberships and ongoing education, taking out indemnity/malpractice insurance etc. actually, i know who thinks that - completely out of touch government bureaucrats!
i do think the lifetime loading rule is reasonable idea, but IMHO both the medicare levy and private health premiums should be based on age, not income, with subsidies for lower to middle income households. that should help increase the number of young people willing to take it up, and leaving the lifetime loading rule in place would encourage them to take it up early in life and maintain it.
whereas the current system is going to leave young people disillusioned with the system (i know it did with me). they'll start thinking "why am i being forced to pay for something i don't need, i'm just subsidising the health care of older people, they can afford it themselves, they already got the benefits of the housing boom" etc etc. so they drop out of private health, and we start seeing things spiral downwards as described in the article above.
I'd love to see an unbiased cost-benefit analysis of both health care and medical research to see whether keeping us geriatrics alive for a few more years is a genuine benefit to society. Unfortunately for most posters here, old blokes would score rather badly I think but old women, because the social and economic benefits of grandmothers have been studied, would score better.
Stop the PHS handouts and put the money into public hospitals for everyone's benefit.
I'll admit to having PHS but I'll also acknowledge that the reason is simply tax avoidance. As a concept it's a silly one and I'm considering dropping it even though it'll cost me in tax to do so. Better to prop up Medicare, that's what funds most medical treatment anyway.
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