You can get affordable health insurance in Northern Territory from either one of the two healthcare systems that operate in Australia;
the National public healthcare through Medicare Australia or paid private health insurance.
Maintaining health is key to well-being and health insurance serves as security. Health insurance protects you from unexpected, high medical expenses as it pays out for most of your medical and surgical costs.
Hospitals and clinics, and public and private general practices deliver medical and healthcare services throughout the Territory.
Medicare – Australia’s Public Health Service
Medicare is Australia’s universal healthcare scheme that provides a wide range of healthcare services at low or no cost to citizens and some overseas visitors.
It is the primary and most affordable way Australians and permanent residents get access to healthcare services.
Medicare is funded through a mix of medicare levy and general taxation. Workers in Australia pay the medicare levy as part of their income tax and high-income earners without appropriate private health insurance cover pay a medicare levy surcharge.
Usually, medicare provides:
- Free treatment and accommodation if you are a public patient in a public hospital
- Free or subsidised treatment by health professionals such as doctors, specialists
- Treatment by optometrists, dentists and other allied health practitioners
If you are a private patient in a public or private hospital, Medicare also pays up to 75% of the scheduled fee for healthcare services and procedures.
However, it does not include hospital accommodation, medicines and theatre fees and items like theatre fees and medicines.
Many overseas citizens in Australia on temporary visas are not eligible to access medicare but medicare pays for health care services for citizens from certain countries.
These Countries are enlisted in the Reciprocal Health care agreement where Australia is part of. They include:
- New Zealand
- The republic of Ireland
- United Kingdom
You can also get access if you’re a permanent resident or citizen of one of the following countries:
- Norfolk Island
- Keeling Island
- Christmas Island
- Lord Howe Island
What Medicare Covers
Medicare covers part or all of the following services;
- Tests and scans, like X – rays
- Seeing a GP or specialist
- Most surgeries and procedures performed by doctors
- Eye tests performed by optometrists
What Medicare Doesn’t Cover
Medicare does not provide coverage for the following services:
- Most dental services
- Ambulance services
- Hearing aids, glasses and contact lenses
- Cosmetic surgery
- Home nursing
- Most physiotherapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic services, speech therapy or psychology services
- Acupuncture ( unless it’s part of your doctor’s consultation)
How To Enrol For Medicare
To get access to medicare services you’ll require a Medicare card and you can only get a Medicare card when you’re enrolled. You can enrol with the following steps:
- Fill out a Medicare Enrolment form
- Send your form and documents to either the address on the form or mail them to Medicare Enrolment Services
- When its approved you would be sent your Medicare card
The Northern Territory’s main hospital is Royal Darwin Hospital. It houses the Alan Walker Cancer Care Centre and the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre.
Palmerston Regional Hospital is also a public hospital that offers a range of services in speciality areas.
Private Health Insurance In Northern Territory
Australia’s public healthcare system, Medicare covers most residents in the Northern Territory for healthcare.
However, if you are a temporary resident not eligible to be covered under the Medicare, you must take out private health insurance to cover any medical expenses you may incur.
Permanent residents and citizens may also decide to pay for private health insurance. This gives you access to choose your preferred hospital, surgeons, opticians and other specialist services at a subsidised rate.
What Is Covered By Private Health Insurance
Private health insurance generally has three types of covers
- Hospital cover
- General treatment cover
- Ambulance cover
Ambulance cover is sometimes covered by the States government, it can also be available separately or combined with other policies.
Hospital cover allows you to choose your own doctor, choose whether you want to be treated in a public or private hospital and also it gives you more control when you are admitted in a hospital. However, even as a private patient in a public hospital, waiting lists still apply.
Generally, healthcare services covered by Medicare and are listed under the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) can also be covered to a degree by private health insurance.
Services like elective cosmetic surgery cosmetic or laser eye surgery which are not listed on the MBS are only covered to a limited extent or are not covered at all, depending on your policy.
What Is Covered By Private Hospital Policies
Private health providers offer policies with different levels of cover. Usually, more expensive policies have a wider range of services covered and cheaper policies cover less.
Hospital insurance policies are divided into four tiers; Gold, Silver, Bronze or Basic. The prices of each tier differ and all offer different levels of coverage.
What May Not be covered under hospital policies
Your health insurance policy may have some limitations on hospital treatment. They include;
- Surgeries or hospital treatment that Medicare does not pay benefit for
- Long hospital stays
General Treatment Cover
This is also called ancillary and extras cover. It provides insurance against some costs of treatment by ancillary health service providers.
The extent of coverage you’ll receive depends on your policy type. It includes the following services;
- Chiropractic treatment
- Dental treatment
- Home nursing
- Prostheses like hearing aids
- Classes and contact lenses
- Physiotherapy, eye therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy
Medicare does not provide coverage for ambulance services. You can organise cover for this service as part of your general treatment or hospital cover or better still, a stand alone cover.
Broader Health Cover
Many private health providers cover a wide variety of alternatives to hospital treatment. This includes treatment provided in your home or in community healthcare clinics, and programs to manage and prevent chronic diseases.
Health insurers are not mandated to provide coverage for these services and participation in these programs may depend on your level of cover and eligibility criteria.
Some examples of hospital substitute treatment include:
- Early discharge
- IV therapy
- Wound care
Examples of chronic disease management include:
- Diabetes management/ education
- Risk factors for chronic disease
- Cardiovascular health
Private Health Insurance Providers In Northern Territory
There are a number of private health cover insurance companies in the Northern Territory. Some of them are;
- Territory Health Fund
- Northsure Insurance Brokers
Medicare is the most affordable health insurance in the Northern Territory. However, if you are not eligible to apply, you can purchase private health insurance policies. There are many sites online where you can compare quotes and find the most affordable policy that suits your needs.