Sunday Territorian

LIKE A MORTGAGE: AUSTRALIAN­S ARE GETTING RIPPED OFF ON THEIR HEALTH INSURANCE

- SUE DUNLEVY

WHEN you crash your car, the insurance covers the full cost of repairs minus your excess but when it comes to health insurance you can’t find a single product that does the same.

Australian­s are paying for their health four times over — once through the Medicare levy, then through their health fund premiums, they must then pay an excess when they use it. And the fourth bill is the most galling — the gap fees four in 10 people pay anaestheti­sts and surgeons that their insurance does not cover.

Proper health insurance that covers you for everything, is now so costly it rivals mortgage payments and is proof the system is broken.

The most comprehens­ive product, that pays fees at a rate recommende­d by the Australian

Medical Associatio­n is only available to doctors and you must be a wealthy doctor to afford it.

We live in a country where the government uses financial penalties that force you to buy health cover once you turn 30 or earn an income over $90,000 a year. It also spends over $6bn of taxpayers’ money subsidisin­g the product. The idea behind these carrots and sticks is to relieve pressure on our overburden­ed free public hospital system.

Even with these subsidies the product has become so expensive two in three Australian­s can only afford cover that excludes many key procedures which means they will still have to rely on the public system if they get sick.

It is simply outrageous that Australian­s who use their health cover are being forced to raid their superannua­tion to cover medical gap fees their health fund will not pay.

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