Australian Private Medical Insurance and qualifying periods

Getting Down Under Australia

We always knew that when we moved to Australia we would need to get ourselves some private medical cover pretty pronto.

We had medical cover in the UK as it was included as part of my package at work and even though we’d have to pay for the cover out of our own pockets this time we could still appreciate the benefits.

The thing is, although you get Medicare here in Australia which is I guess as near as you’ll get to the NHS over here in Australia, you should still anticipate some out of pocket expenses.

Sure, there is the option to wait and get totally free treatment but in some cases the waiting lists can be pretty lengthy.

So, why am I talking about medical insurance when I should be outside enjoying the sunshine?

Well…..I need to rant. It makes sense but it still sucks that for certain types of treatment there are waiting periods before you can claim for treatment under your policy.

Last week I was enjoying a small packet of popcorn…yep popcorn (make a mental note of this…popcorn, not toffee apples, rock, boiled sweets but popcorn).

I was chomping away on this popcorn, merrily watching one of the many imported American sitcoms on channel 7 and I heard a crunch. Yep, I have no idea how but I managed to crunch down so hard on a piece of popcorn that I managed to shatter one of the crowns on my teeth in half.

Thankfully, no pain but when I smile I now look like someone from the Victorian ages with decidedly dodgy teeth.

So, no worries say I. I have medical insurance, I pop on over to the website to identify a list of dentists recognised by this major Aussie insurer and make an appointment the following day.

Having been to the dentist and paid the $49 for him to look in my mouth and confirm that I have broken one of the crowns on my teeth (clever folks these dentists). We then got onto the subject of insurance.

‘Do you have insurance’ asks the jolly Chinese dentist.

‘Yep, I have insurance’ say I smugly.

‘When did you take out your policy’ asks the dentist, wryly.

‘Oh, about two months ago’ says I, slightly worriedly.

‘Oh, that is a shame’ says the dentist, ‘you won’t be covered for this work as there is a 6 month waiting period for crowns’

Now, I understood that there are waiting lists. A 12 month waiting period before you can claim for pregnancy claims makes sense for example, but crowns! I mean, who’s going to intentionally grab a bag of popcorn and shatter one of their crowns for goodness sake?

Anyway, no need to get to worried. After all, it can’t be that expensive can it? Well, actually yes it can.

Imagine the look of glee on my face when I was told that a replacement (which will be fitted over the course of two visits) will cost just over $1200.

Probably the most expensive bag of popcorn I’ve ever eaten. I’m booked in to be ‘numbed up’ next week.

In other news, I won’t be eating any further popcorn for the next four months. After this date I’ll qualify for up to three crown replacements a year. Lucky me!

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