Although what is most affordable is relative to each person, the best way to get affordable health insurance in Tasmania is by Australia’s Medicare.
But if you do not qualify for Medicare, you can purchase private health insurance.
Health insurance is very beneficial and it is mandatory for Australians, Tasmanians inclusive, to have health insurance. It’s either you are covered by Medicare or you take out a private health insurance policy.
Health insurance provides protection for you in the event of unexpected medical or health conditions. It pays out for most of your medical costs/expenses.
Tasmania has 4 major public hospitals and a network of rural hospitals and clinics that provides healthcare services throughout the state.
Public Health Service In Tasmania – Medicare
Medicare is the universal healthcare system in Australia that provides a wide range of healthcare services at low or no cost to Australians, permanent residents and citizens of certain countries.
Medicare is the principal and most affordable way of getting affordable health insurance in Tasmania. The system is funded by general taxation and Medicare levy.
High-income earners that do not have appropriate private health insurance cover pay a Medicare levy surcharge and workers in Tasmania also pay the Medicare levy as part of their income tax.
Generally, Medicare provides:
- Free treatment and accommodation if you are a public patient in a public hospital
- Treatment by optometrists, dentists and other allied health practitioners
- Free or subsidised treatment by health professionals like specialist doctors
What Medicare Covers
Medicare offers a wide coverage ranging from medical examinations to tests and surgeries.
Medicare covers part or all of the following services;
- Consultations with a GP or specialist
- Tests and scans, like X – rays
- Most surgeries and procedures are performed by doctors
- Eye tests performed by optometrists
Medicare also pays 75% of the fee for healthcare services and procedures for private patients in a public or private hospital in Tasmania.However, it does not include medicines,hospital accommodation and theatre fees.
What Medicare Does Not Cover
The services stated below are not covered by Medicare;
- Ambulance services
- Hearing aids, glasses and contact lenses
- Most dental services
- Home nursing
- Most physiotherapy,occupational therapy, chiropractic services, speech therapy or psychology services
- Acupuncture ( unless it’s part of your doctors’ consultation)
- Cosmetic surgery
Who Is Eligible For Medicare
Medicare is available and accessible to all Australians and permanent residents. Many foreign citizens in Australia on temporary visas may not be eligible to access Medicare.
However, Medicare pays for healthcare for citizens from countries listed in the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement of which Australia is a part. These countries include:
- New Zealand
- Republic of Ireland
- Slovenia and
- The United Kingdom
If you are a citizen or permanent resident of the following countries, you can also apply for Medicare;
- Keeling Island
- Norfolk Island
- Christmas Island
- Lord Howe Island
Enrolling For Medicare In Tasmania
If you are eligible for Medicare, you can follow the following steps if you choose to enrol;
- Fill out a Medicare Enrolment form (you can fill it in online if you choose)
- Send your form and documents to either the address on the form or mail them to Medicare Enrollment Services
- When it’s approved, you will be sent your Medicare card. Your Medicare card allows you access to the services provided.
Royal Hobart Hospital, Launceston General Hospital and North West Regional Hospital are some major public hospitals in Tasmania, where you can access healthcare services.
Private Health Insurance In Tasmania
On the Island (Tasmania), Medicare provides healthcare services for the majority of the population.
However, there are cases where you may not be qualified for Medicare and you would have to take out a private health policy to cover health and medical expenses you incur.
You are not eligible if you are not an Australian, a permanent resident or a citizen of the aforementioned countries.
Private health insurance providers also offer good healthcare services in Tasmania and permanent residents and citizens may also decide to pay for private health insurance.
Private health or medical insurance allows you to choose your preferred surgeon, optometrist or another specialist at subsidised rates, the hospital you want to receive treatment etc. it generally gives you more control over your healthcare.
What Is Covered By Private Health Insurance
Private health insurance offers an extensive range of services. In general private health insurance has three types of covers;
- Hospital cover
- General treatment cover
- Ambulance cover
This type of cover allows you to choose your own doctor and also lets you decide if you’d want to be treated in a public or private hospital.
It offers you more control of the healthcare services you receive when you are admitted in a hospital. However, waiting lists still apply even as a private patient in a public hospital
Healthcare services covered by Medicare and listed under the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) can also be covered to an extent by private health insurance.
Certain medical services like elective cosmetic surgery cosmetic or laser eye surgery which are not listed on the MBS are only covered to a limited extent and times are not covered at all, depending on your policy.
What Is Covered By Private Hospital Policies
Health insurers offer policies with varying levels of cover. Usually, policies with a wider range of services are more expensive and those with a lower range costs less.
Hospital insurance policies are divided into tiers; Gold, Silver, Bronze or Basic. The prices of each tier vary and they all provide different levels of coverage.
What May Not Be Covered Under Hospital Policies
Your hospital insurance policy may have some limitations. The following may not be covered;
- Long hospital stays
- Surgeries or hospital treatment that Medicare does not pay benefit for
General Treatment Cover
General Treatment Cover, also called ancillary and extras cover provides insurance against some costs of treatment by ancillary health service providers.
The amount of coverage you receive would depend on your policy type. It includes the following services;
- Dental treatment
- Home nursing
- Prostheses like hearing aids
- Glasses and contact lenses
- Chiropractic treatment
- Physiotherapy, eye therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy
Residents (permanent) of Tasmania are covered for ambulance services through the state’s own subsidised ambulance scheme.
Broader Health Cover
A good number of private health insurers offer a wide variety of alternatives to hospital treatment. They include treatment provided in your home or in community healthcare clinics and programs to manage or prevent diseases.
Participation in these programs may depend on your eligibility criteria and level of cover. Some examples of hospital substitute treatment include:
- Early discharge
- Wound care
- IV therapy
Some examples of chronic disease management:
- heart/cardiovascular health
- Diabetes management/ education
- Risk factors for chronic disease
Private Health Insurers In Tasmania
Below we’ve provided the top health insurance providers in Tasmania
- St. Lukes
Medicare is by far the most affordable health insurance in Tasmania. But if you do not qualify for the system, the best way to get affordable health insurance is to compare quotes from insurance providers.