Mind Your Own Retirement Episode 37

Beware, April Fool’s Day is fast approaching, so keep your wits about you. But the real issue with 1 April each year is that it is when private health insurance premiums are increased, and when that coveted cover becomes that much harder for hundreds of thousands of older Australians.

Mind Your Own Retirement Episode 37

On our Mind Your Own Retirement podcast today, Andrew Davis, a former health industry chief of 20 years and now CEO of one of Australia’s largest comparison sites, reveals the expected price rises this year and tells why you must act now to minimise the damage.

Talking health matters, if you’ve noticed the world is becoming a bit foggy, you may be developing cataracts. What now? We asked an expert in the field, orthoptist Pam Norton, to explain everything we need to know about this eye condition. And she has a word of warning when asking your health professional about the costs.

Our podcast editor Ian MacWilliams has a number of passions in life, but one that totally absorbs him is researching and collating his family tree. He admits it chews up the hours and determines many of his travel destinations, but says it has enriched his life and his family’s in so many ways. He explains how.


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8th Mar 2020
Ours goes up $5 a week so no big deal. Yes, we have cataracts and they are covered by our health insurance. Yes, private health cover is worth it.
No, I can’t be bothered with the podcasts, just write it!
8th Mar 2020
Podcasts are useless when one has no sound on their computer. Please provide written text too.
The Phonse
8th Mar 2020
I never listen to podcasts. I'ts easier to just read them. Lifechoices should drop them.
8th Mar 2020
i love the podcasts
8th Mar 2020
Just had mine done for FREE at Eye and Ear Hospital Melbourne! No more glasses after 70 years! Private Health Cover? No thanks!
8th Mar 2020
It would be appreciated if all podcasts were also covered with written text. I am always multi tasking and listening to a podcast while I am also listening to TV is not an option. I dislike podcasts and judging by previous comments, so do others. I feel we are missing out.
We also have health insurance and it is going up....around $7 or so I believe. This is no big deal...we have got our moneys worth.
8th Mar 2020
I love the podcasts. Thanks YLC for taking the time to make them. For those who continue to grizzle .... as far as I know this website is free and we should be thankful for the advice it offers in all its forms. If you don't like podcasts then the solution seems simple to me .... DON"T LISTEN !
Crystal Clear
8th Mar 2020
Re Private health insurance - If you opt out of one item you have no need for, and never will have a need for,then,because they have very cleverly packaged that item with two or three other health areas you MAY have a need for in the future, you would remove all those items from your policy.
Pregnancy is packaged with renal failure treatment and psychiatric treatment.
Be aware too that all tests carried out in private hospitals are at full cost. There is no bulk billing or Senior rates. Make sure the hospital pharmacy has your concession card
details, or you will be charged normal rates for all scripts. Check that you can have the pre- admittance nasal swab and ECG tests at your doctor's surgery, where they will be bulk billed. or you will have to pay $70+, and from memory there was no Medicare or private health fund rebate. There is a charge for Internet, television and phone even if you don't need,or want, to use any of them - around $25 every 3 days and even if you are only in the hospital overnight.Check how much the gap is going to be between the surgeo's fee and the anaesthetist's fee and the rebates from Medicare and the Health fundthis can run into thousands of dollars. No wonder people are only keeping the private health fund extras, and cancelling the hospital benefits areas.
15th Mar 2020
I haven't had private hospital insurance for over 20 years, now. I only have extras cover for things I know I need - glasses, chiro, dental, podiatry are just some.

I had both of my knees replaced in 2011 and it was totally on Medicare. Had a total of 3 weeks in hospital including 2 in rehab. Even the surgeon's visits prior to and after the surgery were on Medicare. I live in a rural city in NSW.
8th Mar 2020
If you are treated as a Day Surgery patient you mayfind your Private Health cover doesnt work! When I had my Cancer Treatment I was told that Private Health insurance would not cover me! Also when Ihad eye surgery it would have cost me $4000 as a
Private patient as it was Day Surgery,had it done for free!
Rob 101
10th Mar 2020
Then you need to look at what is covered because some do not cover cataracts but ours does.
Horace Cope
8th Mar 2020
Here's my usual rant about health insurance; they claim an average percentage increase which, in our case, is different from what our increase is and we have never been lower than to "average". The next one is close, "average" is 3.26% ours is 4.33%. Can a health minister please demand that health insurers disclose the range of increases, not the average.
10th Mar 2020
Totally agree Horace - mine is increasing just under 6%. I am SICK and tired of hearing about 'average increase'. I have never had an 'average increase' yet, and I am constantly checking and researching for the best cover. I have had only one small claim in nearly 30 years and want to keep my PHI - but may be forced to drop it due to cost. I still have a mortgage, on the full Aged Pension, so it is a huge cost.
9th Mar 2020
As well as the usual yearly increases some insurance companies tweek the policy during the year as my wife and I found out . It's worth reading your policy on a yearly basis, they all vary considerably, check also hip and knee replacement costs,cataracts was in this category it's the age thing when you hit 60 just let friends and relies know who are younger than you and sure we would'nt be without it but it is a big deal when fees for different procedures are increased and excess charges are increased along with your yearly costs.
9th Mar 2020
No more podcasts please, written information is great.
10th Mar 2020
Health Insurance, who can afford that? Not me & I earn reasonable wage working atm (already pay a Medicare levy so no thanks)! What a rogue rip off industry & I'm not supporting that! So many things we are coerced into these days that drain our pockets -'the system' -system to keep us working & or broke all our lives (there are many parts to this system & Health Insurance or Medicare is just one part- superannuation is another part, council rates, forced bin collection, permits for everything, fines for camping or living in a vehicle in so many places etc is another part, banking is another part, working & single point tax & whole tax system in general is another part ! No such thing as freedom or living cheaply any more-forced to work ya arse off & be part of the system, no choice! 40years ago life was simple & you could afford to at least live/cover basic living expenses on your own on the dole

If Medicare don't cover me in severe illness I'm basically gonna av to die coz what else do you do when you dont have the $ to waste/spend on Health Insurance or health in general??
10th Mar 2020
I wouldn’t be without my Private Health Insurance. I suspect I have gained much more from it over past years than I have paid in. However it did not cover my 6 weeks of radiotherapy and I was well out of pocket. In my ignorance at the time, 8 years ago, I thought everything was automatically covered. Got that bit wrong.
Even though my budget is tight, it’s never a waste, especially as I age. I cut my garment according to the cloth, but I make sure the buttons of Private Health are sown on firmly.
Cheezil61, you don’t seem to be happy about much at all!
14th Mar 2020
Agree Cheez - finally smart enough to drop mine. Have friend sadly diagnosed with advanced breast cancer &, with her Private Health Insurance (+ the cost of the Insurance itself) was costing her a small fortune re Specialists/Treatments/Anaethetists/Operations/hospital extras et al in $ shortfalls between what her Insurance refunded & what all the above actually charged. After a couple of yrs of all the above she decided to discontinue her PHI & yep, you guessed it - she was treated in a Public Hospital with nothing but medications to pay for. still well & happy, refusing any further treatments as believes all has now been done & close to her initially predicted 5yr "use by" date - happily no Drs/no Specialists/no treatments/no hospitals/no constant anxiety waiting for test results - no treatment @ all for past 2yrs & a happy/well human, instead of an anxious patient. Have another friend who had PHI when diagnosed with cataracts - no Private Hospital could accommodate her for 2yrs, luckily she had a great Opthalmologist who found an "opening" for her much earlier altho' it was a 4hr drive away in a Public Hosp, both he & she were prepared to travel that 4hrs & all great/done for free (apart from a few $$s extra re above Specialist & eye drops) - she too dropped her PHI immediately after. I dropped mine too a few mths after not making a single claim for 10+yrs - lost $16,000+ which I could have saved for possible future health needs. Gratefully fit & well altho' $poor thks to prior unneeded PHI + now ever increasing utility bills/ Council Rates/home & car Insurances/now essential Internet & Mobile phone costs/home repairs/appliance replacements/car upkeep & the list goes on & on. Remember the days when my parents lived comfortably on their couples OAP without ever having nor needing PHI as when necessary they were always quickly treated in Public Hospitals @ no cost apart from medications. And everyone appears to think we Baby-Boomers are the lucky ones....hahaha.
10th Mar 2020
I also hate podcasts as i am deaf so they are no use to me.
Please just write it down for us.
14th Mar 2020
Agree greenie - would far prefer to just read it. Podcasts are for youngsters, it's what they're used to. Thought this site was for we Seniors who actually like reading.

10th Mar 2020
Private health insurance is a scam.
10th Mar 2020
drop the pod casts cant stand them just print info thank you.
11th Mar 2020
Love the podcasts, listen while l am walking the dog, but can see the benefit of putting them online in written word for those who cannot or do not want to access podcasts,.
Unfortunately health insurance is a must for us, with our health problems, but we are lucky in that we have an old policy, which is now closed to new members, and in the words of staff at the fund, would be absolutely crazy to change or drop. Have no complains with them and only a 3.5% increase next month.
13th Mar 2020
I never listen to Podcasts, and in this instance I don't have private health cover so it doesn't matter to me

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