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Guest helenandsam

medical care - confused about what happens if you need GP care...

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Guest helenandsam


Me and my husband are due to move to Melbourne in February 2012! we are extremely excited. We are going through the paperwork and I'm totally confused about medical insurance. could someone please help?


As a Brit, I understand I can register for medicare, however I feel I should have private too.

If you have specific health concerns, where can you go to ask specific questions to get the right cover, and what exactly is excluded, and what the waiting periods mean? I don't want to get stuffed by the medical companies themselves by asking the questions and I can't find anywhere that states this.


In brief, I'm mildly asthmatic (taking seretide inhalers) and I may need some hormone investigations for polycystic ovaries / potential fertility problems.


Can anyone help advise what this means - I see that existing conditions have a 12 month waiting period - so in the meantime what do I do? If you go to see the doctor to get an asthma check, how much does this cost? As a brit I know I can register with medicare - what does this mean and will it help with the above?


Thanks in advance!

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Private health insurance really only comes into play if you need to have treatment in hospital and you choose the private system. Going to your GP for regular things like inhaler medication is covered under medicare. Australia has a co-pay system although many new migrants take it as their right to have free medical cover and will choose doctors who bulk bill ie only charge the medicare refund rate. Other GPs (and access to Bulk Billing doctors seems to depend on the level of competition for custom - not so desirable places are less likely to bulk bill unless people are hard up) will expect a co-payment eg a visit costs you $60 to the doctor but you get $30 back from medicare. Another downside of bulk billing is also that usually it goes hand in hand with medical centre approach so you dont necessarily get continuity of care with YOUR doctor just take whoever comes.


If you need to have specialist intervention then your GP will refer you and at that point you can choose to be private or public - you still pay for the specialist in their rooms with some medicare rebate but if you need elective interventions then they will be quicker if you opt for private and that is when your private health insurance comes into play.


Some things like pregnancy have a waiting period and so do pre-existing conditions, declared when you first join the scheme. There are some policies where you can opt out of certain services eg for us, pregnancy wasnt going to be an option LOL but hip replacements were more likely to be an issue.


You have up to 12 months from arrival to join a private health fund without the penalty of age weighted premiums if that is what you choose to do.

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