We recently were having a conversation with a group of friends with a variety of family units; no kids, small kids, older kids and the topic of private health came up. A lot of us are having the internal conflict of whether to either start cover, keep it up or not. For me, having Private Health cover is one of those things that I just couldn’t live without, unfortunately I mean literally. Although I am now over the worst of that chapter in my life, I still see it as an investment into our family’s health and well-being and something as a Mum I see as extremely important.
My husband and I have four kids of our own and I was a surrogate for a friend where I had twins for her. Altogether I’ve had six babies all of which came with their own journey, some straight forward and some with life threatening complications. After I gave birth to our fourth baby, an infection I had developed after the birth of the twin pregnancy returned. As a result, I nearly lost my life and had to have a hysterectomy and numerous operations over many years to get me back on track. Hospital visits were for days or weeks at a time with the worst being one trip that saw me in hospital for three months; it was a relentless emotional roller coaster. Even now I get the unexpected relapse that will see me back in hospital for a procedure or two. The one thing we never had to worry about though was the bill.
One of the positives to this situation was that I was able to choose my treating doctors and specialists and there was no queue or waiting list for treatment. At the worst point, if I had waited a day longer on having my hysterectomy, I was told I would have gone septic and lost my life. Being able to have 100% trust in your doctor and their team, being able to choose the hospital you will be treated at and knowing that you will be treated straight away are just some of the reasons we will always strive to maintain our private health. When my situation escalated and specialists were called in from interstate, we didn’t have to worry about the cost. Peace of mind is a big thing when you become a mother and knowing our family is covered is a big load off.
It’s not just my complicated medical history either; we have four kids aged between 6yo and 13yo. The Children’s Hospital is an amazing place with or without private health cover; what we need it for with them is the four sets of braces that are an impending reality and so far two of the kids have glasses. With sports starting to ramp up, we can envisage a whole variety of reasons we will be needing to swipe our member card, a ball to the mouth knocking out a front tooth being one.
What we’ve learnt from a few life changing experiences is that things can change in minutes, sometimes seconds. My husband was cooking dinner one night and severed his finger, the blood on the roof and floor was the least of the worry with it being quite a complicated operation. By having private health cover, the best hand surgeon was brought in to save his finger and he was straight into microsurgery. A $13,000 operation that was all covered. People we have known or heard of with similar injuries have resulted in complications and the finger eventually being taken off. With a prospect of a career in the emergency services, it could have easily cost him his career had he ended up losing his finger.
When times have been tough, which have been more often than not, with me out of action for so long, a simple call to discuss options and rates have helped us stay covered. Increasing the excess, dropping off stuff you know you won’t need anymore or for a while; like obstetrics and hip replacement can bring the monthly premium right down. It’s also about knowing your cover inside and out and the perks that come along with it. Take the time to read the added bonuses included in your cover. There are all sorts of partnerships to take advantage of with gyms, cinema tickets, sunglasses and travel points are some of the ones we lock in.
I know more than anyone when there is nothing left in the budget to sacrifice, or extra money to find and it just isn’t possible to maintain private cover. For our family, it is an added expense to be covered but it’s one we choose to have for peace of mind, one we choose to sacrifice the items in our budget for and something we try to make work because things can literally change in a second.
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