Getting fit costs time and often money. Many of us are either too busy or too undisciplined to wake up and do 100 push-ups and/or run 10km every day, sad but true (and this writer is no exception). The routine of personal training, gym membership, yoga or Pilates sessions, or a swimming program can really help improve your general health and fitness. But these services come with a financial cost that can add up quickly.
So, how can the financial burden be eased?
The secret lies in Extras cover. Most health funds offer Extras options that provide lifestyle rebates for physical exercise, weight management and rehabilitation. They want you to be healthier and fitter because this typically reduces medical conditions later in life; healthy body, healthy mind, healthy life.
What are the benefits?
By paying for Extras cover every month, your personal training, gym membership, yoga or Pilates sessions, or a swimming program may be eligible for rebates. This will reduce the financial burden each month. It also puts you in receipt of professional fitness and weight management programs where a trained professional is supervising you on the right equipment, which will allow you to reach your health goals quicker and more efficiently.
Here’s an example of how it works:
Monthly gym membership: $100
Monthly health fund rebate: $60
You pay: $40
You save: $60 per month (up to the rebate limit)
And there could be more savings if the particular Extras cover includes other rebates for related services. Every cover is different so be sure you compare and make an informed decision.
There’s always a catch though, right?
Yes, there are always provisions laid out by your health fund that govern how you can claim lifestyle benefits on your Extras cover. These include:
Proof from your doctor – Funds typically require written proof from your doctor stating that a particular course of exercise or weight management is critical to reaching your fitness/health goals.
Programs recognised by your health fund – Not all fitness/health/weight management providers and programs are recognised by the majority of health funds. One example is 24-hour gyms, which are often ineligible because they may not include a staff member to supervise you during off-peak hours. In the eyes of the health funds, this is a liability to your health that increases the risk of personal injury through an accident. Every fund will have different inclusions.
Receipts – You will need to submit receipts/tax invoices to prove the amount of money you are spending and that the program you are undertaking is approved by the health fund.
Annual rebate limits – Most forms of cover will have annual rebate limits on what you can and can’t claim. In part, this is to limit providers of fitness/health/weight management services to abuse the system by charging astronomical prices. It’s best to do some basic sums over a 1-year period to see how much you can save, as well as seeing what other services you might be able to take advantage of as part of that cover. You can claim some of your gym membership but there may also be a remedial massage rebate available, which can be great for recovery and injury prevention allowing you to get more work in.
Waiting periods – Many different cover options will have waiting periods stipulated, sometimes up to 6 months. This period can be waived by the health fund so don’t be afraid to ask before you commit.
How to find the right Extras cover
Every health fund will offer a variety of basic, comprehensive and ancillary cover options. You need to choose the right cover to match your lifestyle, your budget and your health goals. The first step is to consult your doctor about your health goals and find out what your body needs. Then you’ll need to find the right form of exercise or weight management program to achieve these goals. There are many, many options so it’s always best to compare using an comparison service like Choosewell. Their trained health cover advisers know both typical and niche lifestyle needs and the right cover to match, and can advise you on the best option for your arrangement.
You don’t need to have Basic Hospital cover to have Extras cover, and you don’t need to have your Extras cover with the same fund as your Basic Hospital. Mix and match to find the right fit for you.
Tip of the Day: Some healthy lifestyle Extras cover will include rebates for quit smoking programs. Getting off the death sticks will help restore your lung lung capacity, allowing more oxygen into your bloodstream, which will help you recover quicker and work-out longer.
Article provided by Choosewell. Contact Choosewell on 1300 421 154 to speak with a consultant or visit www.choosewell.com.au and let Choosewell help you find the ideal cover to help reach your fitness goals.
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