Every year as Christmas approaches, life gets busy. We all have parties to go to, presents to buy, food to prepare and the kids are off school! Why do most of us have to deal with the fact that if we don't book health care extras treatments by the end of the year we lose any benefits!

Approximately 55%[1] of us have health care extras policies. We all tend to feel obliged to book an appointment in the run up to Christmas at the dentist, the optician, a massage, the physiotherapist, the chiropractor... otherwise we lose any benefits. This panic is also compounded by the fact that dentists, opticians, chiros and physios are all booked out in the lead up to Christmas making matters worse. Usually the only time available is a Wednesday afternoon at 3.15pm, hardly ideal!!!!!

In the September quarter, the average benefit given back per dental visit was $64, optical $75, physiotherapy $35 and chiropractic $30 [1]. Is it really worth disrupting your whole December with these treatments to get these small amounts back when you don't even need them? Why can't you just get a credit to your account for not claiming all year instead? I personally dislike being told to do something because I may lose out. It does not empower me and I always end up with out of pocket expenses anyway because the full treatment isn't covered.

Recently, Medibank’s chief customer officer David Koczkar said the December and January period was one of the peak times for its members to make extras claims before their annual limit amounts reset. “Kids are out of school towards the end of the month so it’s a good time to get some health admin done,’’ he said [2]. This notion of being forced to have treatments at the busiest time of year so you won’t lose your benefits is crazy! you‘ve paid premiums all year and barely claimed, it’s outdated and does not put you in control of your own treatments. All this hassle to get $30-$75 back per treatment. Something has to change!!!

I'd recommend doing the maths and working out how much you pay in health care extras per year. You will be surprised. Is it really worth it? My guess is, if you are like me, it isn't worth it and it never has been. It's time to look for an alternative.

Extrasjar is coming soon and is a fresh alternative to having a health care extra policy you never use. You save for your own health extras and never have the problem of being forced to have treatments before Christmas again. Subscribe here to keep updated or check out our website at www.extrasjar.com .

[1]: APRA Statistics

[2]  https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/budgeting/health-insurance-members-urged-to-use-extras-cover-before-2018/news-story/f9c109501d3691c3e690dc8821cc3a8b

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