Over the last few weeks many of us have been questioning whether we should keep our family health insurance. The government changes that come into effect on July the 1st will add an increasing amount of strain on many of our family budgets.
The changes mean that families earning a combined total of over $168,000 will lose their rebate privileges and end up paying a higher premium on Medicare levy. For individuals earning over $84,000 the same will apply. However, family health insurance premiums are higher than those for individuals and many of us are worried about how much this will affect our income.
However, before we rush to switch or cut our family health insurance it is worth considering the impact this will have on our family and the reality of the public health care system in the country. We are fortunate to have a public healthcare system in this country but we need to realize that it is struggling. The reasons behind changing the Medicare levy system are all sound as, put simply, the system requires more money to remain sustainable.
The system requires more money for a number of reasons. Firstly we are in a situation where the demand for medical care and services is already beginning to outstrip supply. We have an increasingly aging population and a growing population. This means more people are coming through the doors of hospitals and clinics that at any time in the history of our healthcare system. As our population continues to reach increasingly higher ages more people are requiring more treatments throughout the course of their lives. At the same time medical care costs are increasing rapidly throughout the world and the increasing complexity of medicines, treatments and operations is making medical care costs rise at a rate that far outstrips growth in GDP, taxes and the money we have previously been putting towards public health care provision. Finally, we are also in a situation where our healthcare infrastructure needs significant revamping in order to meet with current demand. New technologies and systems are already being implemented throughout many hospitals and clinics in the country but the costs are huge and progress is slow. As time management and patient care continue to be problematic we should all be concerned about healthcare provision in the country.
While these problems are similar to many that other countries around the world face you can notice that the majority of countries with a public healthcare system are struggling to meet demand whilst maintaining quality care. Increasingly long waiting lists for non-emergency care mean that more people have to live with discomfort or quality of live issues without being able to receive the care they need when they need it.
For me and many others these constitute the core reasons that we should keep our family health insurance even though it may cost us more money. I personally can’t imagine not being able to provide my family with instant medical care whenever they need it. I know this is a reality for the majority of the population but I feel that if I can afford it I will.
However, my reasons are somewhat self-centered and I actually think there is a more important reason to keep private health insurance and to not cut it out of our budgets. Private health care means that there is more money being made available to the public health sector and that you are decreasing the strain on our health system. While this doesn’t make keeping health insurance a selfless act we need to realize that if we all drop our family health cover we are only going to exacerbate the already extant problems within the public health system.