Diability/sickness insurance and pension plan in Australia
Thread poster: Nicole Y. Adams, M.A.

Nicole Y. Adams, M.A.  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 22:05
Member (2006)
German to English
+ ...
Dec 19, 2010

Dear colleagues,

I was wondering if anyone can recommend any temporary disability or accident and sickness insurance providers in Australia that offer policies which are particularly suitable for us self-employed translators.

I'd also be grateful for recommendations regarding a private pension plan here in Australia.

Many thanks in advance.

Nicole


 

Daria Bontch-Osmolovskaia
Australia
Local time: 22:05
English
+ ...
Insurance Dec 19, 2010

Hi Nicole,

By temporary, do you mean for a few months or a few years? If just a few months, you can get covered by any travel insurance; if longer than that, just check out any major health insurance funds - MBF, Medibank and I think there are a couple of others. The health insurance system works differently in Australia than in the US, for one we have Medicare - government provided health cover which is about 95% free to the residents. The private health care funds will provide you with all the information you need, it doesn't matter if you are self-employed or not, there is no difference in the cover. In fact, it's very rare for the Australian employers to provide you with health insurance. See if you are eligible for a Medicare card (http://www.medicareaustralia.gov.au/)

Pension plan - over here, we call that superannuation or just "super". You can probably open an account with some fund or another, however it's very restrictive, e.g. you will not be able to touch it until you are 55 years old. There are websites that provide information about this - eg. .http://www.selectingsuper.com.au/ or http://www.asic.gov.au/fido/fido.nsf/byheadline/Superannuation%20fund%20comparison%20worksheet?openDocument or The Choice magazine (go to your local library and ask them about it). The funds vary greatly, depending on where you are employed (public service, private sector, if you are a medical worker or a teacher, etc), however what they have in common is that they will all charge you a large amount of fees (which vary from fund to fund) and not give you access to your money until you are oldicon_smile.gif Some banks also provide super accounts. So, if you are only planning to be in Australia for a few years, think about it carefully. The best person to provide advice is an accountant or a super specialist.

Also, if you are self-employed, you are NOT required to pay money into super.


 

Daria Bontch-Osmolovskaia
Australia
Local time: 22:05
English
+ ...
Oops Dec 19, 2010

Sorry, should have looked at your profile first, I thought you were an American! It was your choice of words that threw meicon_smile.gif

 

Nicole Y. Adams, M.A.  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 22:05
Member (2006)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
... Dec 19, 2010

Daria Bontch-Osmolovskaia wrote:

Sorry, should have looked at your profile first, I thought you were an American! It was your choice of words that threw meicon_smile.gif


Thank you very much for your reply, Daria.

In fact, I just moved here from the UK 6 months ago and am still not really sure where to start with regard to getting a private pension fundand disability insurance etc. set up.icon_smile.gif

Regards,

Nicole


 

QUOI  Identity Verified

Chinese to English
+ ...
Income protection, health insurance and superannuation Dec 19, 2010

All major insurance companies sell these products and a good place to start is www.iselect.com.au.

Re private health insurance (usually more complicated than other types of insurance), there is a good collection of information on this website:
http://www.phio.org.au/publications/publications.aspx



[Edited at 2010-12-19 07:15 GMT]


 

Daria Bontch-Osmolovskaia
Australia
Local time: 22:05
English
+ ...
insurance Dec 20, 2010

Nicole Y. Adams, M.A. wrote:

Thank you very much for your reply, Daria.

In fact, I just moved here from the UK 6 months ago and am still not really sure where to start with regard to getting a private pension fundand disability insurance etc. set up.icon_smile.gif



See if you can get a Medicare card, then most of your medical treatment will be bulk-billed (aka paid by the government). That includes visits to GPs (at least a portion of them), hospitalisations, procedures, surgeries, etc. You will still have to pay the full price for the medications, unless you spend a lot of money on them every year. If you are mostly healthy, that's usually enoughicon_smile.gif Ambulance cover varies from state to state, for example in QLD (where I live), we pay a small premium to St. John's ambulance through our electricity company, it's compulsory for everyone. It's about $10 a quarter, but considering that an ambulance call out costs upwards from $500, it's fine with me. (Hopefully I will never need it!icon_wink.gif )

Disability/ illness insurance you can get through any bank or credit union, you don't need a pension plan to get it, it's separate.

And like I said about super - if you are not planning to stay in Australia for the rest of your life, you might want to research something like a managed fund, any bank will happily talk to you about that. The principle is more or less the same - you deposit money for investments into a fund and the bank manager looks after investments for you; but you can liquidate it at any time you like. The only thing is that if you are depositing funds into a super fund, the government matches it with their contributions, which means that you theoretically end up with more in the long run. However, I don't know how that applies to self-employed people, never researched it. I prefer to invest my money myself.

There is a also a pension system in Australia, paid by the government to people who don't have enough investments to sponsor their retirements. It's not much, but you won't starveicon_wink.gif (http://www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/payments/age_pension.htm)


 

Daria Bontch-Osmolovskaia
Australia
Local time: 22:05
English
+ ...
taxes Dec 20, 2010

P.S. Make sure to go to an accountant to do your taxes in July next year - they will explain the whole Medicare levy / Medicare surcharge to you. It's compulsory to pay those, however the latter depends on your income. It's the way the government collects the money to fund the health care system. If you have private health insurance, you don't have to pay the surcharge (or the levy? One of them, anywayicon_smile.gif ).

If you are already registered as a sole trader (with an ABN), I would strongly encourage you to talk to an accountant now, as there are MANY things that you can claim back on tax as a self-employed person, especially if you work from home, but they all must be documented.


 


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