HEALTH INSURANCE

The cost of getting the flu

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It’s official! We’re a sickly lot with one estimate from private health insurer nib suggesting that as many as one in five Australians will come down with the flu this year. Moreover, St John Ambulance Australia estimates that flu costs Australian companies more than $7billion in sick days annually.

In reality, according to nib, it is normal for adults to have up to three or four colds per year, whereas young children can have up to ten bouts. With this in mind, and as we head into the coldest months of the year, now is a good time to review your health and medical insurance options, as well as any government services available to you.

Under the Federal Government’s ‘National Immunisation Program’, for example, influenza vaccinations are free for people aged 65 years and over, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 15 years and over, pregnant women, and individuals with severe asthma, heart disease, chronic illness, impaired immunity and diabetes. The Government is recommending that anyone over the age of six months make an appointment with their GP and protect themselves against influenza by having a shot.

However, if you prefer to avoid needling your way to good health, there are a number of preventative strategies to keep you away from sharp objects. The first place to start is to review the offerings across the competitive private health fund sector. You can do this by comparing health insurance online, such as at RateCity, to get a better understanding of the services on offer.

For instance, you’ll discover that basic health cover for young singles can include extras such as rebates on health management programs and preventative health tests, as well as, discounts on gym memberships, yoga classes and quit smoking courses.

Likewise there are some preventative steps you can take to naturally decrease your chances of illness. A report from the University of Maryland in the United States, suggests there is some evidence that Echinacea and garlic can be used to help ward off colds and the flu. While these products won’t guarantee immunity, you’ll find them on the shelves of most supermarkets and health food stores.

In addition, the Victorian Government’s Department for Health advises that the best natural flu prevention strategy is regular exercise, a healthy, balanced diet and plenty of sleep.  Taking these steps will help give your immune system the boost it needs to effectively combat the influenza virus.

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