Healthcare is extremely important. Regular blood tests, consultations with doctors and annual physical exam ensure good health. At some point we all need health care, whether it is to treat pneumonia, fix aching tooth or undergo a major operation. However, as beneficial as health care is, taking care of the medical bills is not as simple. Many families struggle with paying high hospital bills and health insurance plans. If you are one of them, know there are ways to slash your medical bills and still provide a good health care plan for your family.
Take Advantage Of Medicare
Australian government provides free healthcare to everyone who is a citizen of Australia and New Zealand, has permanent visa and permission to work in Australia. This healthcare system known as Medicare, provides fundamental coverage which includes free consultations with doctors and specialists, tests, exams and majority of surgical procedures, public hospital treatments and medications. In fact, the government covers about 75% of all medical bills and patients are responsible for the rest 25%.
Claim Medical Expenses On Your Taxes
If medical expenditures you paid out of your own pocket (after subtracting any health insurance or Medicare refunds) exceed $2,120, then you can claim them on your tax return. But you cannot claim it all. The actual percentage you can claim depends on your status, number of dependents and taxable income. Also, not all medical bills can be claimed such as cosmetic surgery, travel expenses, ambulance service, funeral expenses, etc. For more information, it is best if you visit the official website of Australian Taxation office or consult with your tax return preparer.
Access Your SMSF
If you have SMSF, then you can access its benefits. Yes, ATO (Australian Taxation Office) has strict regulations on accessing SMSF benefits early, but there are exceptions. For example, if a family member has been diagnosed with a terminal medical illness, you can access your super to cover high medical treatments, medication, exams and consultations with doctors and specialists.
Look For Low-Priced Health Providers
Do a little research before going to a hospital. Some health providers charge significantly low price for their services. Call your health insurance and ask for rates for all providers in your area. If driving few extra kilometers means saving few hundreds of dollars, it is worth it.
Ask For A Payment Plan
Many hospitals and healthcare providers are open to discount and payment plan options. You just need to inquire about them. Provide information on total family income and negotiate the final amount of your medical bill and payment plan. Make sure you make timely payments, otherwise healthcare provider may return the original amount and your account will always be marked as ‘not paid in full’. This may lower your credit score and cause you problems in the future in case you’d like to get a loan.