Members warn: Beware health fund ‘rip-offs’

Mike explains why he is covered for pregnancy and IVF – in his 70s.

upset man

Health insurance rebates are shrinking, costs continue to rise, out-of-pocket fees are troubling to say the least and transparency is an issue. The system will change from Monday, but many problems won’t be solved.

Consider these two warnings from YourLifeChoices members.

Mike wrote:

“I wish to draw the following 'rip-off' to your attention.

“We have been insured under the top cover for the past 20-plus years. I finally decided to look at the benefits under the new codes and discard the unsuitable ones.

“Our new premium comes under Gold.

“Gold covers, among other things, pregnancy, IVF and male sterility reversal.

“Being pensioners in our 70s we hardly need pregnancy, IVF and sterility reversal so we decided to have them removed with a corresponding drop in the premium.

“We contacted HBF, who said we would have to drop to Silver to have these items removed, plus this would remove the dialysis (which we did not ask for). Despite several contacts, HBF advise there is no way we can eliminate the items that we will never use. So, to ensure we have cover for dialysis in case of need, we have to pay for a Gold policy.

“I have to believe there are hundreds if not thousands of over-60s who have no need for this cover but are still paying.

“I hope I have explained my frustration.”

YourLifeChoices contacted HBF for comment but has not received a reply.

Denis wrote:

“My wife and I are retired. We have top family health insurance, hospital and extras – if we had our health insurance as two single policies it is cheaper by about 8 per cent. We’re with AHM and it’s about $25 a month cheaper with individual policies. It’s not a fortune but multiply by 12 and it’s a few dollars.

“A rather confused reader.”

YourLifeChoices contacted AHM for clarification but has not received a reply.

The Consumers Health Forum (CHF) believes an investigation into the industry is overdue.

CHF communications director Mark Metherell told ABC radio: “We have been arguing for some years that there needs to be a Productivity Commission inquiry into government assistance to health insurance to sort out what is a highly complex, highly costly, highly sensitive system.”

In response to whether the upcoming Gold, Silver, Bronze system will be effective, he said: “As long as people are prepared to spend a bit of time, uniform categories will make choice easier. It may help to avoid unnecessary costs, but it does take time and patience.”

He added: “Very powerful interests are involved in this and a lot of money is at play.”

A Roy Morgan survey, based on data for the 12 months to December 2018, found that only 55.4 per cent of private health insurance fund members agree that ‘it is essential to have private health insurance’. This continues an annual decline since December 2014 when it was at 65 per cent.

“Other declining attitudes among members over the last four years include the increasing concern that it is ‘difficult to understand what you are covered for’, which had an increase of 7.5 percentage points (to 44 per cent). There was an increase of 5.2 percentage points in ‘I don’t see much value in having it’ (to 16.3 per cent) and an increase of 1.6 percentage points for ‘I want the cheapest and don’t care about the provider’ (to 21.7 per cent).

Roy Morgan industry communications director Norman Morris said: “Any further decrease in attitude towards health insurance that may result should be of major concern to health funds and government. Any further decline in membership will lead to more pressure on the public system and as a result increased government funding.”

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) urges everyone not to “set and forget” their health insurance.

“Consider whether a policy covers the conditions that are most relevant to you or your family in the short to medium term,” it says.

“For instance, what is the chance you will incur a sports-related injury? Have a baby? Need a hip replacement? Also bear in mind that there are conditions that you can’t predict, including the need for psychiatric care, cardiac conditions and plastic and reconstructive surgery following surgery to remove cancer. These are all treatments that can be restricted or excluded under lower level policies.”

A difficult task as Mike found out.

Are you across next week’s changes? Have you made any adjustments yet? Do you think there should be a Productivity Commission inquiry into the industry?

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    COMMENTS

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    Tom Tank
    28th Mar 2019
    10:34am
    Instead of a Productivity Commission, who lean more to conservative business practices, a Royal Commission which is more open and should be without any bias would be more appropriate. Especially given the amount of taxpayer's money goes to support Private Health Insurance companies with their executive level salaries..
    Anonymous
    28th Mar 2019
    1:22pm
    There are a number of industry sectors that really need such Royal Commissions, private health insurance being one of them. Others include the energy sector, telecommunications, and doctors/specialists.
    GeorgeM
    28th Mar 2019
    11:20pm
    Absolutely my first thought too, Tom Tank, a Royal Commission is well overdue into this fraudulent industry, where everyone (Insurance, Doctors, other Service Providers) win except the Consumer. It is NOT an Insurance scheme as the Consumer bears the Risk for Gap payments. Govt must act on this major issue for the people, yet I can't see any discussion in the media, even with an Election coming up.

    I wonder what YLC does with such polls - is there a plan to take it up with the political parties? As people have commented below, even the new Gold, Silver and Bronze definitions are ridiculous as it forces you to take unnecessary items in the Gold level (e.g. pregnancy) when you are an old retired person just to cover other possible issues for old people (e.g. knee / hip replacements).
    Tom Tank
    28th Mar 2019
    10:34am
    Instead of a Productivity Commission, who lean more to conservative business practices, a Royal Commission which is more open and should be without any bias would be more appropriate. Especially given the amount of taxpayer's money goes to support Private Health Insurance companies with their executive level salaries..
    Paddington
    28th Mar 2019
    11:23am
    It is doable to find th right cover for each person. The gold level cover does cover pregnancy related stuff but Silver plus does not. But that still may not be the best deal because young ones needing pregnancy cover are also paying for things that us oldies need like knee replacements. Don’t use the find my cover sites as they select only certain ones and overlook some that offer the best deal.
    We have gone hunting again and once again are changing. The long list of extras are also a bit of a scam. To our surprise we found an amazing one which is Mildura Health Fund. If you live in that area you have an excellent deal but if you are around Australia except Western Australia it is by far the cheapest with good cover out of them all. We are once again under the $300 for top hospital and some extras like dental. You can choose a range of excesses too from nil to $750. We have gone with $500 excess.
    There is the option to have no cover but we are not there yet thankfully. We are in our seventies and on the pension with little else except for our home. We consider ourselves fortunate. We don’t eat out even for coffee so that is how we manage to do well. We don’t drink or smoke or have lavish holidays. We visit our grandkids for holidays. We purchase specials mainly which is fine. So, private health cover is still doable. We just fit it into our budget under food, now the second biggest bill.
    Being positive is the key and being happy with what you have helps.
    KSS
    28th Mar 2019
    1:39pm
    I just had a look at the Mildura Health Fund and I would recommend taking a good hard look at it including the hospitals with which they have a contract. I looked for NSW and there is not a single full service hospital on the list. There are any number of day or overnight facilities but what happens if what you need is not day surgery?

    Also I could only see Basic and Gold hospital only and it wasn't clear what the difference was (apart from about $800).

    As always this may suit some perfectly but others don't be swayed by the apparent low cost ($1100 per year approx for the basic hospital cover).
    Paddington
    28th Mar 2019
    3:47pm
    KSS,
    We are fully covered in Victoria. If you are in WA not so good.
    $288.45 is the cost of our new cover so we are pretty chuffed.
    If you are in or near Mildura you also get free day hospital but that is the only difference.
    Not sure what you are saying but we have checked thoroughly.
    Paddington
    28th Mar 2019
    4:01pm
    https://www.choice.com.au/money/insurance/health/funds/mildura-health-fund#HospitalAgreements
    Paddington
    28th Mar 2019
    4:42pm
    KSS it is very clear the difference between gold five star and Basic actually.
    Basic would only be used if you are in your twenties and not likely to need anything done but getting in on the lowest level for little money.
    The gold five star covers everything that Medicare covers.
    Basic is bronze. There is no silver, so straight to gold.
    sunnyOz
    28th Mar 2019
    7:06pm
    Paddington - I too have recently looked into Mildura Fund, and checked it out thoroughly. I concur with you that KSS is quite incorrect. Mildura actually offers far more than some other funds I have checked out (I do up a spreadsheet to compare). I live in Qld and after actually speaking with them for further info, am more than happy to be changing to them.
    Paddington
    28th Mar 2019
    7:31pm
    Thanks sunnyOz. I have a sister in Qld looking for something cheaper too.
    She had a stroke recently and was in the public system for that. I thought she might drop her cover but she said no as the waiting lists were too long for other things like knee and hip etc.
    Mercury3640
    28th Mar 2019
    11:24am
    Mike doesn't seem to understand the concept of insurance. If he should be unfortunate enough to need expensive medical care many others will contribute to the cost of that care, whether they are at risk of the same affliction or not.
    Paddington
    28th Mar 2019
    7:32pm
    Yes. We understand it with car insurance and home insurance but for some reason the concept of health insurance evades many people.
    sunnyOz
    29th Mar 2019
    9:31am
    Paddington - and cannot equate car/home insurance what so ever with Health Insurance! Have a car crash - you're covered, and you just pay the excess. Doesn't matter if you're hit by, or you hit - a bus, or a ute, or a truck.
    But Health Insurance? - totally different! Have to pay the excess - PLUS all the gap fees. Then they are likely to turn around and say 'sorry, but you are not covered for that procedure'.
    Car insurance does not have sneaky little clauses that say 'sorry, but because you hit a truck, you are unable to claim'. The insurance covers the lot. Unlike Health Insurance, which either deletes or adds in totally inappropriate and unwanted procedures. As if seniors want 'reproductive assistance, IVF and pregnancy'!
    Instead of calling it Health Insurance - call it Health Lottery!
    sunnyOz
    28th Mar 2019
    11:38am
    I am the same as Mike, being made to include totally irrelevant items simply to get cover for the items I want. I was in Gold with my health fund, have been notified I will change to Silver plus. Lose some of the items I was previously covered for. In order to get them, I am being forced to go up to Gold, which obviously is at a substantial price increase. I will be doing the hunt for another fund, but this is a timely exercise and I have little trust in them also changing terms later on. Health insurance is becoming a huge rip off, pay more for less cover. Then large gap fees.
    Thoughtful
    28th Mar 2019
    11:58am
    If you have an older policy, even though you are paying for cover you don't need, try to maintain it. Avoids having to "choose your illness", which is what the new policies are about.
    KSS
    28th Mar 2019
    12:47pm
    My example was even more ridiculous: the cover 'paid' for infertility treatment but not the positive results that would stem from it! And neither would be needed by the over 60s anyway!

    And the so called basic, bronze, silver, gold tiers will do little to end any confusion because the insurance companies are 'allowed' to mess with them and add + or plus so it would become silver+ of silver plus. These are meant to provide cover for the same cover as the say silver tier but with some enhancements! You don't see this much at the moment as the insurance companies actually have until next year to fully convert their policies.
    sunnyOz
    28th Mar 2019
    4:01pm
    Yes KSS, that has happened to me. I was in Gold cover. But been told I am now in Silver Plus. Items I was covered under my Gold, are not in Silver Plus, so to get that cover, I have to upgrade to Gold. Obviously dearer. The fund cannot tell me why items I am covered for up to 31.3.2019, I am not covered for after 1.4.19. This is blatant gouging, and I agree, the new levels are a farce. Of course, they don't have patients interests at all for regard, just solely a way to offer less and, charge more.
    Paddington
    29th Mar 2019
    8:40pm
    You weren’t in a gold level before by the sounds of it. There was a level or two above you. Some were tricky calling them gold then they had levels above that were actually gold. They named them platinum but they were gold level in fact. I saw those and recognised them for what they were.
    Some silver plus ones now cover everything except pregnancy related items. Also, you have to contact your health fund before you go to hospital and check that your surgeon is not overcharging. There are some who do not overcharge.
    Change your fund. There are some good ones.
    Just moved to Mildura Health Fund gold level hospital with dental only extras for $288.45 from 1/4.
    older&wiser
    30th Mar 2019
    7:38am
    Paddington - you obviously did not read my post. I haven't got dementia - yet - and what I did say was correct. I AM - at least until tomorrow - in Gold cover. As you implied I must be going senile, I did pull out my cover certificate to double check, and it clearly states Gold Level.
    Only last night on TV was a story on how one health fund had 74 different policy levels, with many called gold but the fund rated them differently. Something customers knew nothing of. And seems I fell in to one of these "Gold minus 1/2/3". When I spoke to my health fund about this, they tried to fob me off by saying my 'new' level was lower because I had a higher excess!
    Mildura Health Fund price of $288.45 - is that monthly, and what state?
    Greg
    30th Mar 2019
    11:39am
    in2sunset - I think what Paddo is saying is you had a product that your insurance company called "Gold" previously, it was just a name they used for their product and had nothing to do with the new names - Gold, Silver, Bronze.

    Our health didn't call them colours, our was Top Level Cover, Intermediate and Basic, we were in Top Cover so it changes to Gold under the new naming. I think ours also had a Premium Cover with more benefits then Gold.

    So back to your insurance, the cover you had previously was not the best/top cover that your health fund had. If it was the best it should have gone over to the name Gold.
    Paddington
    30th Mar 2019
    4:14pm
    in2sunset, yes it is per calendar month.
    We are in Victoria. WA is the only state it is not so good in. If you live in the region of Mildura it is even better. We are nowhere near there but it is the only one I could find better than the one we already had which was a big improvement on everything else.
    No, I was not implying that you were senile rather that the health fund called it Gold, put one or two above it called them platinum which were actually gold. The level that removes anything can become Silver plus now if it covers everything except pregnancy related e.g.
    The misnaming of the levels has been at fault.

    28th Mar 2019
    12:49pm
    This just goes to show what an absolute scam private health insurance truly is.
    Crikey
    28th Mar 2019
    1:23pm
    Would encourage YLC members and readers to contact Private Health Insurance Ombudsman (PHIO) to register complaint re unilateral classification of health categories (B S Gold) and add to the statistical record of complaint data. I have done so and await a response.
    Sundays
    28th Mar 2019
    1:25pm
    Forced to pay for Gold as it covers the hip/knee replacement and cataracts which we might actually need even though we don’t need a lot of other things on the list. That just doesn’t seem right.

    I sometimes feel we should drop out as fortunately so far our health has been good. My husband has never been to hospital, and I had the children over 40 years ago. Still, many friends suddenly develop illnesses, so we remain risk averse.
    Thoughtful
    28th Mar 2019
    1:40pm
    Feel the same way but I am fearful of the longer waiting lists in the public system. I guess by the time I can no longer afford the insurance, my time will not be considered so valuable. This whole change in the private health system is a total confusion and is only designed to make people think they are getting better value for money.
    sunnyOz
    28th Mar 2019
    4:04pm
    Agree Thoughtful.. Only today QLD annoyed that some surgeries would be done in the private system due to the backlog. I know too many people who don't have Private Health Insurance, and have had ridiculous waits for hip/knee surgery.
    Paddington
    30th Mar 2019
    4:18pm
    The young ones don’t need hip replacements usually so I think it may even out. Cataracts are another one.
    Depending where you are the waiting lists can be dreadful, an example being my cousin waited many years for a knee replacement.
    Life experience
    28th Mar 2019
    1:34pm
    Need a Royal commission. Health insurance is becoming more and more expensive with less covered. I have been in touch with HBF and expressed my frustration. I suggest everyone phones their private Health provider. My dentist was told at a meeting with HBF that things will not change unless there are lots of complaints.
    Public hospitals will pick up the increased need for health care as people drop out of private health care. It’s now just a ridiculous waste of money.
    Therese
    28th Mar 2019
    4:20pm
    I have thought the same why pay for pregnancy etc at my age 71. I have the top cover. However, I am with NIB for many years of my worklife. When I was younger I also contributed towards sickness that affected the older people in my time. Now it is the other way round. I will not complain that I am supporting the younger people now. Last year I had to have 2 stents and needed 2 Angiograms. The hospital cost and doctor etc came to $19,000 for having 2 stents. The first Angiogram was also well over $10,000. Fortunately, my doctor bulk billed me, although he did the operation in a private hospital. Am sure younger people would complain also why they had to fund me. We need to have some compassion for each other. I know it is very hard for some people, been there, I come from a very poor parents and they struggled in their life. I am much more lucky in my life as I had a good job that afforded me to be insured in the top cover level. The government should support those people better, who are really struggling and pay the out of pocket expenses, that is my suggestion.
    Mondo
    28th Mar 2019
    4:24pm
    I am coming to the conclusion that we would be better off self insuring. Of the private health insurance fees we all pay no less than 40% goes in advertising, administration, salaries and increasingly, profit so $3000 annual fees become $1800 worth of insurance. Look at what the CEOs are paid and the directors fees of your fund. My experience is that if you go into a private hospital you need a float of up to around $10,000 to pay surgeons, anaesthetists, radiologists etc before you can make a claim on your health insurance fund. If you put this float into a savings account and added the usual health fund premiums each year its unlikely it would ever run dry and you would more than likely end up with a significant surplus. On my last hospital stay only just over 7% of direct medical costs were covered by Medicare Private Top Hospital cover. If all else fails there is always Medicare which we have already paid for.
    Farside
    29th Mar 2019
    8:09am
    Cosmo says "If you put this float into a savings account and added the usual health fund premiums each year its unlikely it would ever run dry and you would more than likely end up with a significant surplus." Any numbers to support this contention or just more noise on a complex topic? What is the chance of the savings account running dry and what is the likelihood of a significant surplus for those participating? Is it equal for the gamut of people and their particular needs?

    Self-insurance may work for some people but it could be a poor choice for others.
    sunnyOz
    29th Mar 2019
    9:37am
    Be careful Cosmo - be VERY careful - of putting money aside into a savings account to pay for medical costs!
    My girlfriend has done this as in her 50's, she developed a condition that would slowly worsen, but require expensive treatment. Rather than take out Health Insurance with it's hefty age related loading, she put money aside to cover future health costs.
    So what happens? - when she became eligible for the Aged Pension, this quite substantial savings money was taken into account and her pension was reduced accordingly. CL were not interested that it was money set aside for medical costs.
    Dollars over Respect?
    28th Mar 2019
    5:30pm
    Yes, I (like a multitude of others) certainly agree that there should be a Productivity Commission investigation into the whole industry. Additionally, existing price gouging should be examined and eliminated from overly high-priced specialist doctor services. Often referrals from a local GP are made to unaffordable specialists, as the alternative is to have to wait several weeks - or even months - for an appointment with an ethical, decent specialist doctor. There should be some overarching control body over doctor's charges to combat exorbitant specialist fees that cause financial hardship. At the moment, the only alternative is just to wait for an appointment, which risks the condition becoming worse. We have been told that the quality of a specialist service is unrelated to the costs charged by a doctor. If this is the case, there should be an average price range listing for all specialist doctor services that the public can refer to that would force doctors to price match - at least as a start to try to overcome this common issue.
    Irish
    28th Mar 2019
    6:29pm
    Today I changed from one health insurer to another after deliberating for some time. I have saved money, but one item I did not not include is joint replacement as the policy can be upgraded with wait of 12 months should it become apparent that a joint replacement is on the horizon. Under the public system the wait for joint replacement can be anytime from 12mths onwards. And yes, it didn't matter which benefit I opted for, I am covered for sterilisation and/or reversal (and I'm 67)!
    Paddington
    28th Mar 2019
    7:34pm
    Ha ha. Of course we are all covered for items that we will never need. That is what insurance means. The young ones probably won’t need cataract surgery or hip replacement.
    Btw my cousin waited many years for a knee replacement in Qld.
    Farside
    29th Mar 2019
    8:11am
    It seems many people do not grasp the ideas behind pooled risk. It is easy enough to reduce the size of the pool however it will not necessarily drive a reduction in insurance premiums for those in the pool.
    Mondo
    29th Mar 2019
    12:11pm
    Farside; so where are your figures to support your argument to the contrary? Here are mine. Assuming today's typical top cover fees for a couple of $3,000 as a constant and a life expectancy of 80 years and starting to set money aside at age 25 with a $10,000 float and a 3% interest rate, over that time the account would accrue to $459,036.35. This would obviously decrease by any amount withdrawn for medical expenses but if you think your adult lifetime hospital cost for a couple will amount to more than this you are probably not covered for those treatments anyway. Many high cost procedures are excluded by the private funds so even if insured you would end up paying for them so the $3000 annual private fund fee is a base rate. As an example, last year on top hospital cover I had a $10,000 private hospital operation on my spine, not exactly elective surgery. I received back from Medicare Private a total of $733.55 or less than 7.4%. So if you think you are covered with private medical insurance think again.
    My local mid-sized regional public hospital says it gains $5million a year from enticing patients to use their private cover in exchange for a free newspaper and use of the TV. There are 695 public hospitals in Australia, if they are all up to the same tricks this would amount to $3.475 billion annually paid in private health fees redirected to support public hospitals. 2015/16 government figures indicate it is even higher at $4.181 billion or 18% of total private health fund revenue of $22.8 billion or 28% of the $14.9 billion paid out by the private funds in benefits. I leave it to you to work out what happened to the other $7.9 billion difference between revenue and paid out benefits but profit of the private health fund "industry" reportedly rose by 18% in the same year. I await your calculations of how we are better off in a private health fund?
    older&wiser
    29th Mar 2019
    7:54pm
    Hypothesis not so rosey if you OAP eligible - as dear Centrelink take that $459,036 into consideration as part of your asset/income test. You'd have to use allot of that money to live on, not just set aside for your Health Bills if you need it - and that is solely if you had NO other super, etc. If you had around $356,000 in super, you would not get any aged pension, as CL don't give a rats that the $459,036 is for future medical costs.
    Greg
    30th Mar 2019
    12:00pm
    Cosmo - I understand what you're saying but that's the idea of insurance, you pay, pay, pay but really hope you don't have to use it. You pay for car insurance but you don't want to make a claim, it's "dead money".

    You've have made a lot of assumptions there, starting at 25 yo and who knows what claims could come along through their life. My wife spent a total of TWO years in private hospitals over a 20 year period, at the time $750 ish per day for the room alone, lots of different therapies, operations, tests, etc, we were well and truly over what we had put into the health fund. I don't think they like us much. But that's the idea of insurance, some pay, pay, pay and don't claim which helps with the costs for other members.

    Your $10,000 operation and $733.55 refund sounds excessive. You really need to talk to the doctors before and find the costs, we've never had anywhere near that kind of gap.
    Mondo
    30th Mar 2019
    12:55pm
    Greg, firstly I am sorry to hear of and sympathise with your wife's situation. However,I challenge you, when you are paralysed and in excruciating pain, to go looking for a cheap neurosurgeon who can operate on your spinal cord.

    The health fund has a list of no or low gap surgeons but not neurosurgeons, my GP recommended three, all the same fees but none cheaper so where would you find a cheapie neurosurgeon? Would you trust your life to them?

    So what assumed age would you start and what other assumptions would you make? You have to start somewhere or of course you can just not make any assumptions and rubbish everyone else's!

    If insurance was not a big money earner we would not be bombarded by constant advertisements day and night. If its a big earner for some its a big cost to policy holders.If look online under 'Australia's highest paid professions' you will see "MD healthcare" is right at the top.
    Unlike other forms of insurance health insurance is one of the most expensive and where there is an alternative safety net.
    Mondo
    30th Mar 2019
    1:25pm
    Greg, I have just read today's article in the NewDaily on 'Australia's Top paid occupations; https://thenewdaily.com.au/money/2019/03/29/australias-richest-and-poorest-suburbs/?utm_source=Adestra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Saturday%20News%20-%2020190330
    I see that surgeon is the highest paid occupation and anaesthetist is the second highest paid occupation so again I ask, where would you find a cheap surgeon?
    Farside
    1st Apr 2019
    2:04am
    Cosmo, you have based your numbers on someone starting at 25 and keeping good health, especially in the early years while accumulating capital. An accident or major illness would through a spanner in the works if that were to occur. It might not happen to everyone but for those it dies it is not uncommon to incur more than the mean annual salary on medical bills. Some can afford that risk, others cannot. I suspect there are few 25 year olds reading YLC and fewer who can time travel back to when 25 and start over; do you advocate someone in their 50s or 60s convert to self insurance or do they go public rather enjoy the benefits of private health care?
    Mondo
    1st Apr 2019
    2:20pm
    Farside, Like Greg you appear to question why I have based my calculations on a starting age of 25 yet you also suggest that a major illness (which could strike anytime) would affect the calculations. I did acknowledge that in my earlier post but at what age are you suggesting that this may occur and what would be your starting age and other assumptions for calculations to take this into account? The point I made in my own example was that even though we think we may be insured and that everything over the excess is covered, that is simply not true. In my case around 90% wasn't covered and I know of three others who have had very similar operations with similar costs so its not unusual. If I didn't have the $10,000 available I would not have been able to have the operation despite having top cover insurance. Where does it say that in the policy? My stated excess is $500 but it turned out to be nearly $10,000.
    When the people paying insurance are on average wages and the people running the insurance companies are on $1million pa. you tell me whose financial position is best assured by insurance?
    I have generally rejected the idea of many insurances for most of my life. I have never had life insurance. Our plan for self insurance was to put literally every spare dollar into paying of our mortgage, no phone, no TV, no washing machine, made our own furniture and furnishings and by so doing we achieved this by age 30 and that was the best life insurance and feeling of real assurance we could buy, for life.

    I have a very wealthy cousin who drives a Rolls Royce, has an apartment in Central London, a castle on the British Channel Islands and a half share in a Caribbean island. He didn't inherit it, he's an insurance broker. He told me that he makes his money from mugs who can't assess their own risks but want everything in life covered and pay him to do so. So when you ask me at what age someone should self insure, only you can assess your comfort zone or you pay someone else to get rich to share in your perceived risks.

    The TV advertisements (yes we bought a TV eventually) that really piss me off are for funeral insurance, in most cases only afforded by people who already have their own homes probably worth around $1million to leave to their kids, yet they say 'I couldn't possibly burden my children with the cost of my funeral?" No that would be just too much while they squabble over the spoils of someone else's life of labour!

    The truth is, for most of us reading YLC it is probably too late to make major insurance changes and hindsight is a great thing but one thing I am assured of; there won't be many insurance executives at my funeral!

    29th Mar 2019
    12:40pm
    I am also with AHM and at nearly 74 am not in need of pregnancy cover but it seems they are not able to remove this item even though I suggested they should have different policies for younger and older people


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