By Richard Laycock
If you’re studying at uni and have only just started thinking about getting a job, then it’s likely that health insurance hasn’t really crossed your mind. Besides, if you’re at uni and you’ve got private health insurance, chances are that you’re on your family health insurance policy already. But did you know that once you finish studying full-time, turn 25, or start full-time work that you’re going to be booted off?
This isn’t the end of the world, though. Finding the right cover can be very easy, you just need to know what you’re looking for.
When do most people need to get their own health insurance?
Most health funds will allow you to stay on your family policy as long as you’re a dependent. Each fund will have its own definition of a dependent that can remain on their parent’s policy.
As previously mentioned, turning 25 or finishing your studies will usually mean that you’ve got to leave your family policy. But, these aren’t the only reasons you’ll no longer be classed as a dependent. Other reasons include:
- Full-time work. If you’ve started working full-time, even if you’re are still attending university, many health funds will require you to take out your own policy.
- Getting married. The same goes if you get hitched. If you’re planning on tying the knot before graduating university, you’ll need to find your own health insurance policy.
What should you look for in your own policy?
For many people, taking out private health insurance at such a young age doesn’t make a lot of sense. This is especially true of hospital cover. Statistically, those aged between 25 and 29 are not likely to find themselves in hospital. If they do, there is always the public health system.
The option with the most value for someone leaving their parent’s health insurance policy is extras cover. Extras cover for someone leaving uni is a good investment, as it provides benefits for many services not covered by Medicare and you can get a policy from as little as $10 a month*.
Benefits for new full-time workers, uni leavers, and those turning 25
- Getting covered for visiting the dentist is the main benefit of extras cover, since dental costs aren’t covered by Medicare. If you don’t want to have to pay out-of-pocket for dental services or you don’t have the discipline to self-insure, extras cover for dental is a must.
- Optical is probably the second-most important type of cover for an extras policy. Like dental, optical isn’t covered by Medicare. While visiting the optometrist is usually not as expensive as visiting the dentist, optical cover is a nice bonus, especially if you wear glasses or contact lenses.
- Gym memberships. One of the major benefits of taking out extras cover is that some health funds offer cover for “health maintenance programs”. Depending on your fund, you may be able to claim back part of your annual gym membership. Some of the bigger funds have relationships with gyms and offer discounted memberships.
- Healthy lifestyle benefits. One emerging trend allows you to take out cover and earn rewards just for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Health funds such as myOwn are offering discounted premiums for those who monitor their health and participate in weekly fitness challenges. Other health insurers such as Qantas Assure offer similar benefits but with Qantas Frequent Flyer Points in-lieu of discounted premiums.
Not sure when you’ll be kicked off your family policy? You can check the various limits for child, student and adult dependents online.
So if you’re thinking of taking on full-time work, dropping back to part-time uni, or your 25th birthday is fast approaching – then maybe it’s time to look into investing in your own health insurance.
Richard Laycock is an insurance expert and editor at finder.com.au.
*Quote found using the finder.com.au/health-insurance comparison engine on 5 September 2017 for a male living in South Sydney looking for an extras-only policy.
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.