How To Work Out What Health Insurance Extras You Do And Don’t Need

By Morgan Reardon

So you’ve done the adult thing and hooked yourself up with health insurance—nice work! (If you’re still weighing up your options, ask yourself these four questions first.) Chances are you might soon realise that not all health insurance policies are created equal. Some are hospital-cover only and others come with optional extras for everyday health services such as physio, psychology and dental. But which ones do you want and actually need? As part of The Well, we’ve teamed up with private health insurer, HBF to suss out how you can make the most of your health insurance. Take note.

Are Health Insurance Extras Really Worth It?

Let’s address the elephant in the room first—do you really need to fork out extra dosh for health insurance extras? Let us paint the picture for you. If you wear contact lenses or glasses, like to visit the dentist at least twice a year, are partial to a remedial massage, treat your old netball-induced shoulder injury at the physio, or like to see a chiro for your sore neck, then those appointments costs can add up quickly. Still not convinced? Consider your current lifestyle—do you go to the gym or play a team sport? While that can be great for your physical and mental health, it might also lead to an increased risk of injury. That’s ouch on both your body and bank balance. 

Having extras on your health insurance is what could save you money in the long run. For example, eligible HBF members can score 100% back on their first scale and clean at the dentist each year*—that’s more coin to spend on fun things on the weekend like long lunches with your mates or those new sneakers you’ve been eyeing off. 

What Kind Of Extras Can You Expect?

While this varies greatly depending on your health fund, it’s not just dental and optical that is covered in health insurance extras—there’s a myriad of offers that could seriously improve your health and quality of life depending on your own unique needs. We’re talking acupuncture, endodontic dental care, glucose monitors, hearing aids, massage, non-PBS medicines, orthodontics, podiatry and psychology. Yep, everything from your monthly mental health check-ins to weight management programs could be covered.

How To Figure Out What Health Insurance Extras You Actually Need

This is a deeply personal question that only you can answer. But as a starting point, go old school and grab a pen and paper. In one column list non-negotiable health concerns you want to be covered. If you wear contact lenses daily, then that’s probably something you’re going to want to be covered as a priority. In another column, write down the extras you’ll likely use several times a year. This could be psychologist appointments or regular visits to podiatrists. And finally, create a column for the ‘nice to haves’—maybe that’s massages or acupuncture. Once you’ve finished your list, you can start lining up the extra cover you could benefit from. 

Luckily, HBF offers flexible extras cover, where you split your extras limit across 12 services. That means you aren’t locked into services you won’t use. For example, you could spend your annual limit all on physio, rather than having funds languishing in dental if you're a religious flosser and steer clear of sugary treats. Check out this handy tool to compare extras and see what works best for you. 

How And Where To Buy Health Insurance Extras 

Thankfully, this is the easy part. You can update your current policy or purchase a new one over the phone or online. Sometimes picking up the phone and having a yarn to a knowledgeable staff member can help answer those final niggly questions. Remember no question is too silly to ask—it’s your health cover we’re talking about here and that deserves some serious time and consideration. 

Finally, if you have a partner, it’s also worth having a conversation about their health insurance and concerns and seeing if you’d be better placed having a shared policy and combining extras. Love your partner but don’t love sharing everything with them? Good news is all HBF extras cover comes with individual limits**, so there’s no need to share with your partner.

Want to learn more about whether or not extras cover is right for you? Head over here to learn more about it. 

This article contains general information only and does not take into account the health, personal situation or needs of any person. In conjunction with your GP or treating health care professional, please consider whether the information is suitable for you and your personal circumstances.

*For eligible members when provided by a Member Plus provider. Subject to annual limits. Waiting periods may apply.

**Limits, waiting periods and other terms and conditions apply.

This article is sponsored by HBF and proudly endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.

Image credit: Behrouz Sasani

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