Health insurance is a complicated subject for many, with a lot of confusion regarding how to go about finding it, what certain health coverage actually covers, and even what the difference between a deductible or copay is. In fact, the chances are pretty high that unless you frequently use your health insurance for a chronic illness or common doctor’s appointments, you likely haven’t given much thought to your health insurance plan — even though it might be costing you too much money each month.
All of that being said, if you’re in a serious relationship and are thinking about getting engaged or moving in together, you may also be wondering what to do about your insurance coverage. If you’re asking yourselves the question, “Should we get joint health insurance?” here are a few things to keep in mind.
What do you and your partner need from health coverage?
When determining whether or not it makes sense to hop on joint health insurance together, it’s important to consider what you and your partner need from a health plan. For example, if you’re only looking for basic coverage for trips to the hospital or your health care provider, you likely need less coverage. On the other hand, if you have a chronic illness or are anticipating a major surgery, it may make more sense to get some extra coverage together. Beyond that, you may want to be able to cover things like optometrists’ appointments or a yearly exam at the dentist. Making sure you and your significant other are on the same page is pivotal before deciding what sort of coverage you need.
What’s your income level?
Your income level will also matter when factoring in what kind of coverage to get and whether or not you want to get joint insurance in the next year or stay on your current, individual plans. This largely has to do with how the Australian Government Rebate impacts higher-earners when it comes to their contributions towards your private health insurance. Age also plays a role in these calculations, so be sure to consider how Lifetime Health Cover laws may affect you and your significant other, too.
Generally, the government will offer a percentage of your private health insurance back to you as a rebate, but this number varies based on how much you earn annually. If your partner earns significantly more than you in a year, you may need to prepare for a shock when you see the amount of your government rebate. That being said, you could be just as likely to qualify for a bigger rebate on joint insurance, since the base tier for singles is under $90,000, whereas couples and families get capped at $180,000.
How should you compare private plans?
If you and your partner find yourself struggling to choose a health insurance provider, it can be difficult to come to some form of reconciliation. After all, weighing the pros and cons of any insurance policy comes down to a very personal calculus that includes factors like price and quality of care. Just because your monthly cost may go down doesn’t mean that your coverage will stay the same!
Thankfully, the internet can help demystify some aspects of evaluating different individual health insurance plans. You can compare health insurance with iSelect, for example in order to see what your out of pocket cost might be, as well as other details about coinsurance, deductibles, and exclusions. Being able to look at insurers side by side is often the easiest way to make an informed decision as a couple, taking both parties’ wants and needs into consideration.