The value of health insurance. Are you paying for a product
that does not offer you what you need?

I regularly have patients come to see me in relation to
severe arthritis of the lower extremity. Many of these patients have soldiered
on with their condition for years but have reached the point where they are now
unable to cope and need, for instance a knee replacement or hip replacement.

After I have finished a detailed discussion with these
patients, I present them with a booking form which they sign, eager to undergo
the necessary surgery to help them in their pursuit of a more comfortable life,
maintaining their fitness levels and general well being. Many of these patients
have health insurance, thinking they are covered but do not realise that the
product they are paying for does not fit their needs.  The confusion and anger when they realise
that they are not covered for surgery is keenly felt.

Do these people really need additions to their basic health
insurance like dental check ups or free chiropractic when the cover offered to
them does not include important items like joint replacement, eye surgery,
heart surgery etc etc? This is a personal question that is clearly beyond my role,
but it is nonetheless a very important question.

Private health insurance gives you choices: it allows you to
choose your surgeon and the time of your procedure. It allows you therefore to
fit in your planned surgery to suit yourself.

My recommendation is that you look at your health insurance.
Does it really offer you what you need? IF you are over 50 for instance, does
it include joint replacement, eye surgery, cardiac surgery and so on, the
things that are often needed in that age group? If not you may be paying a good
deal of money for something that does not meet your needs.

Unfortunately, the health insurance industry is complex and
difficult to understand but you owe it to yourself to pay it attention, to
review it regularly and to make sure that it will serve you should you need it.

Paul Miniter

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