Category Archives: young adults

The everyday habits causing your tooth sensitivity

Jan_dental_sensitivity promo_no text.jpgEveryone knows how important it is to brush twice daily and floss for healthy teeth and gums. No doubt, your dentist reminds you at every six-monthly visit. But did you know that there are lots of things you can do to prevent the serious and growing problem of tooth erosion?

‘Your tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body and it is designed to protect the inside of your teeth’ says Dr Lincoln Law, dentist at the healthy teeth clinic in Surry Hills.

‘But acidic foods and drinks can damage the teeth by etching away at the thin layer of enamel. This leads to sensitivity and this can leave your pearly whites less than white,’ he adds.

Tooth sensitivity: why it happens

‘Teeth are made up from layers, the outer surface is enamel and when this is worn away, the dentine layer is exposed, which is a yellowy or off-white colour. Dentine has tiny holes in it and via these holes, hot and cold temperatures and even sweetness, and sour tastes can reach the nerves causing pain.’ Explains Dr Lincoln.

More and more people are being affected by sensitive teeth, a problem that can start early in life. Plus, if tooth erosion affects the adult teeth, the results are permanent because enamel doesn’t grow back!

It’s all about pH

‘Both acids and alkaline are measured via a system called pH and your mouth has a pH of around seven (a pH of one is very acidic and 14 is very alkaline). So seven is neutral because it’s right in the middle of the pH scale.

‘So, acidic drinks – such as cola which has a pH of around three – erodes enamel i.e. it dissolves the calcium salts in it. See for yourself – if you have a baby tooth to experiment with, drop it into a glass of cola and it will eventually dissolve. Foods such as pickles and vinegars, and drinks such as wine also etch away at your enamel,’ he says.

Enamel erosion can have other causes too, including:

  • Acid reflux – where acid from the stomach flows up the mouth causing the pain of heartburn). The acid usually affects the teeth at the back of the mouth.
  • Frequent vomiting – which can be caused by medicines and also the condition bulimia. This also erodes the back or chewing teeth.
  • Over-brushing or using abrasive toothpaste – both can wear down your precious enamel.
  • Physical wear and tear – including tooth-to-tooth grinding, which can lead to the gradual loss of enamel.

What you can do

‘Leave some time between eating acidic foods or consuming acidic drinks – including breakfast juices and tooth brushing. This is because the acid will have softened the enamel. And, brushing too soon can literally brush enamel away. So brush before food and rinse your mouth with water afterwards,’ Dr Lincoln advises.

Remember, it can take up to 30 minutes for the surface of a tooth to get back to normal pH after an acidic drink so wait at least this long before brushing.

 

Treatment

Sensitive teeth can be treated with high-strength fluoride toothpaste or remineralising pastes containing calcium and phosphate. If the damage is severe, though, you may need restorative dentistry.

Practical tips to protect your enamel

Don’t brush too soon after eating foods with acids in them (including pickles and ketchup) and drinks (such as juices and wine).

Eat fruits as part of a meal since chewing stimulates saliva, which is your body’s natural way to cleanse your mouth.

Avoid fizzy drinks, especially with screw caps to discourage sipping throughout the day. ‘If you want a fizzy drink, drink in one go and use a straw to reduce contact with the teeth. Rinse your mouth with water afterwards. Remember that juices and some alcoholic drinks including wine are also acidic and spirits with juices plus cider. Sparkling water has less of a damaging effect but still contains acid,’ advises Dr Lincoln.

See your GP if you are having problems with acid reflux.

See your dentist to check you haven’t cracked a tooth or filling that’s causing the sensitivity.

 

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Dr Lincoln Law, dentist at the healthy teeth clinic in Surry Hills
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Your health cover – seven reasons why it shouldn’t be set and forget …

All too often people take out health cover at one life stage and forget to update it as their needs, and the needs of their family, change over time. Peta Gane, from rt’s member services team, shares some expert tips to getting the right kind of cover for your needs – and why your health cover should have an occasional health check!

‘We’ve all heard about people caught without the right level of health cover. It’s really distressing for the person and for us when we find someone is on the wrong cover for their needs. That’s why it’s so important to give your health cover a health check from time to time,’ she says.

Peta says she and the team at rt find people who might be on the wrong type of cover by looking at their age and the level of cover they have, and by comparing it with data that tells them the types of medical treatments people in those age groups are most likely to use.

Taking a proactive approach and reviewing your health cover by talking to a representative will make sure your needs are met. Peta explains saying: ‘It’s important to encourage people to give their health cover a regular check. And, there are a number of life events and stages when checking your level of cover may be especially important.’ These include:

01 You’re turning 31, thinking of dropping your hospital cover or if you’re new to Australia

You may be at risk of getting stuck with a Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading if:

  • you don’t have private hospital insurance before 1 July following your 31st birthday
  • you’re over the age of 31 and have had hospital cover, but let it lapse
  • you’ve moved to Australia and are eligible to receive full Medicare entitlements.

‘The LHC loading is a government penalty designed to encourage people to take out
private hospital cover and to keep it. Once you have an LHC loading, you’ll have to
pay it for ten continuous years, so avoiding it or minimising it as early as possible is
important – the team at rt can show you how,’ says Peta.

02 You’re planning a trip

Australian private health insurance only covers you for treatment you receive in Australia and for products and services you buy in the country. So, if you’re heading overseas for 28 days or more, suspend your cover.

03 You get a pay rise

‘If you’re earning over a certain amount and you don’t have private hospital cover, you’ll be charged an additional tax called the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS). Single people earning over $90,000 a year and couples/families earning over $180,000 are affected. If this applies to you, you’re better off having hospital cover than paying the extra tax – you’ll avoid the surcharge and gain all the benefits of private cover. The income tiers are set by the tax office; the current tiers are in place until 30 June 2018,’ explains Peta.

04 You’re planning a family

‘Having a baby is an exciting time and one of your most important considerations will be where you plan to have your baby and who you want to see you through your pregnancy.’ Peta urges you to check that the hospital cover you have includes pregnancy in a private hospital and remember that waiting periods may apply before you’re covered if you are new to a fund or if you upgrade to a cover that includes pregnancy. ‘If you have a single membership with rt, for example, you’ll need to upgrade to a family or sole-parent family membership at least two months before the baby’s due date. If you don’t upgrade, and your baby needs hospital care following birth, your baby won’t be covered. If you already have a couple, family or sole-parent family membership your baby will be covered if hospital care is needed. Planning ahead enables you to put your mind at ease so you can enjoy a healthy pregnancy and beyond, our team can guide you,’ she explains.

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05 The kids are growing

Got kids who might need orthodontic treatment soon? Get the right kind of extras cover to help during this important (and expensive) time. ‘When your kids reach about 12, think about checking or upgrading your extras to make sure they are covered if they need orthodontic treatment,’ says Dr Lincoln Law, dentist at Healthy Teeth. ‘There’s a waiting period of 12 months before you can claim orthodontics if you’re not already covered, so as with everything that’s important in life, plan ahead!’ adds Peta.

06 You’re celebrating a graduation

With rt, your children can be covered by your family or sole-parent family membership until their 21st birthday. After that, they can stay on your membership until they’re 25 if they’re studying full-time at an approved Australian school, college or university, and aren’t married or living in a de facto relationship. If they aren’t studying, you can keep the kids covered under your membership for an additional contribution that’s a fraction of what they’d pay for their own cover. ‘It’s called ‘family extension and it’s available with rt’s Premium Hospital cover,’ Peta explains.

If you join or are with rt health, your kids are eligible to join, and provided they transfer to their own membership with an equivalent level of cover within two months of leaving yours, they’ll have no waiting periods to serve.

07 There’s a significant birthday on the horizon

Celebrating important milestones in the family is one of life’s greatest joys. But with different ages and stages, come different health needs. As you get older, you’re more likely to need certain types of medical treatment for knees, hips, hearts and more.

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‘No matter what your life stage, think about whether your health cover is working for you right now. And, will it meet your upcoming needs? We’re committed to providing our existing and new members with the best advice possible and matching them with the right cover for their changing needs!’ ends Peta.

Call us on 1300 56 46 46 to join rt health and get the rt health check your health deserves!

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Peta Gane, member services team

 

 

Don’t get slugged with an extra penalty!

Did you know that almost three-quarters of Australians without private hospital insurance don’t know that they could be slapped with a 10-year Lifetime Health Cover loading*?  The statistics are even higher for young Australians (18-31) without private hospital insurance – a massive 80% are unaware of LHC*. Thankfully LHC can be avoided or minimised so read on to find out how!

What you need to know …

Lifetime Health Cover is a government initiative that’s designed to encourage Australians to take out private hospital cover early in life and to keep it. If you don’t have private hospital insurance before 1 July following your 31st birthday, the LHC meter starts running. And, from that point on, hospital cover will cost you an additional 2 per cent on top of the usual price every year you delay, up to a maximum loading of 70 per cent! And, the loading stays with you until you have paid it for ten continuous years.

Not yet 31?

If you take out hospital cover by the time you are 31 (and keep it) you’ll pay the lowest rate offered by the health fund you join. And, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that if the unexpected happens, you have choice, security and control.

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Already over 31?

The longer you delay, the more you’ll pay. This can mean that hospital cover ends up costing you thousands of dollars more than you needed to pay. So, for example, if you were to put off taking out hospital cover until you were 40, you’d be paying 20% more than someone who took out the same hospital cover at age 30. This loading could add up to thousands of dollars over a ten-year period! The bottom line is that if you want to avoid getting tripped up by the LHC loading, you have to take out hospital cover sooner rather than later (and keep it)!

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Dropped your private hospital cover?

If you’re over 31 and have held private hospital cover without an LHC loading but you’ve let your cover lapse, you may be subject to a loading when you choose to re-join a health fund later on. Our team can explain the details and why getting hospital cover and sticking with it is so worthwhile.

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New to Australia?

If you’re a new Australian and you hold either a green or blue Medicare card, the LHC loading can be avoided by taking out private hospital cover by 1 July following your 31st birthday. Over 31? Take out hospital cover before the first anniversary of the day you registered for full Medicare benefits. Otherwise, you’ll be charged a 2% loading for every year you are over 31!

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If you want to avoid the LHC loading or minimise it – talk to us today! We can explain the details to you in plain English and you won’t be rushed off the phone. Give our team of experts a call on 1300 56 46 46.

For further information about Lifetime Health Cover see the Australian Government’s Private Health Insurance Ombudsman website.

Daniel Walshaw
Daniel Walshaw – Marketing Communications Content Specialist at rt health fund

 

Disclaimer: This information is brought to you by rt health fund – the health fund for transport and energy industry people. You are welcome to reproduce this article with mention of rt health fund as the source. With all tax-related issues, we strongly recommend you speak with your accountant, financial planner or tax adviser. The information provided here is intended to be for information only and should be carefully evaluated for its source, accuracy, completeness and relevance for your purposes.

*Ipsos/iSelect, June 2015

 

 

 

 

 

Young, fit and out for fun?

You may need health cover more than you think!

Since you’re young, health insurance probably isn’t on your radar. And, although it’s true that chronic (long-term) conditions such as diabetes are more likely to affect older people, did you know that more young people are admitted to hospital for accidents and injuries than people at any other life stage? Health insurance really can protect your health …

More young people are admitted to hospital for accidents and injuries than people at any other life stage.

Your health, your way

It’s natural to want to make your own decisions about your life, your way. And, health cover can do this by giving you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that if the unexpected happens, you have choice, security and control.

First Start Hospital cover has been developed as a great start to health insurance by providing cover for the kinds of things young people are more likely to need. And, it doesn’t cost as much as you might think. For around only $16.22* a week, about the same as four coffees or a weekly membership at your gym, you could be covered if something were to happen to you.

Need convincing? Here’s how health insurance can protect your health!

Last Friday night …

Hands up who’s familiar with this scenario?

‘My cousin was walking down some nightclub stairs late one night wearing super-high stilettos. She tripped, fell and tore the ligaments in her leg and ended up needing surgery and physiotherapy for months after.’

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Need help paying for those extra services?

Young people are the highest users of services covered under extras (ancillary) cover such as dental, optical, physio and chiro.

But apart from a very small number of services, there’s no Medicare coverage for these things. So, if you’d like some assistance with these types of health care costs, private health insurance is the only way to go.

Dancing into trouble

This young dancer trains four to five times a week. And the workouts are pretty intensive.

‘Even though I haven’t had an injury, I do have to see my physio regularly. Plus, I need to have remedial massages to ensure that I take care of my body. If I didn’t have health cover I might put it off – which wouldn’t do my health much good.

I love that I can use HICAPS for on-the-spot claiming – I never thought about health insurance before joining rt health fund, which is when I started paying attention to what I could claim. And extras by itself isn’t that expensive. You never know what you might actually need!’

The trouble with teeth

‘My friends and I were mucking around on a jet ski when my mate went head-over-heels and chipped both his front teeth. He had to walk around with broken front teeth for weeks while he scraped together the money to get them fixed.’

With extras cover from as little as $4.80 a week**, why wouldn’t you get covered?

Mix, match ‘n’ save!

One of the easiest ways to save money on your health insurance is to mix and match your hospital and extras cover based on your individual needs.

rt health fund offers a range of covers. First Start Hospital and Value Extras are a great choice for young people who are taking out health cover for the first time and who don’t have any specific health issues or concerns.

Give our team a call on 1300 56 46 46 to talk through your options, the costs and how it all works or join online here.

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Jenna Kazokas – Marketing Communications Digital Producer at rt health fund

*Prices are indicative, based on a single, NSW-based membership, receiving a 26.791% rebate with no Lifetime Health Cover loading and $500 excess.

**Prices are indicative, based on a single, NSW-based membership on Value Extras cover, receiving a 26.791% rebate.

Seven better health habits to learn from your kids

As a mum, I know that with age comes education and experience. But on the downside, I think we may also unlearn a thing or two – and it turns out that your kids can be the ones to teach you. For example, it’s natural for children to put their health first without even realising it. So, maybe it’s time for the grown-ups to do the same. Here are seven valuable lessons you may be able to learn from your kids …

  1. Better breathing

Have you ever seen a baby breathe? Noticed the way the diaphragm (the large muscle below the lungs) rises and falls? This is called diaphragmatic breathing, and it’s the natural way to take in a deep breath and oxygenate your body. This kind of breathing expands your lungs and presses down the diaphragm, causing the abdomen to expand as the lungs are filled with air. When stressed or anxious, adults are prone to shallow breathing from the chest, which means that the bottom parts of the lungs don’t fill up, denying the body of vital oxygen.

Whether you’re sitting, standing or lying down, place one hand on your chest and another on your stomach and breathe out, exhaling completely. As you inhale, count slowly to five and the hand on your stomach will rise up. Then exhale, counting down slowly from five until that hand goes down. Though it’s not as easy as it sounds and you may need to practice it, regular abdominal breathing is a great way to keep your stress levels down, as well as slow down your heartbeat and reduce or stabilise your blood pressure[i].

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  1. Ask why?

Take a look at your phone. It’s always undergoing improvements, updates and revisions, and isn’t that a bit like life? It can get pretty hectic and scary for us adults, but for children, new and unfamiliar obstacles are just tasks that need to be learned and mastered. Be curious about the world and ask questions, as not only does this provide a mentally stimulating workout that may help keep conditions such as dementia at bay, but people may also consider you to be a good listener and conversationalist.

Whether you’re eight or 80, you can always learn, so enjoy the journey to discover, develop and grow. When you can, be flexible, open and embrace uncertainty, rather than letting your doubts take over. Take your time to look around, appreciate what you have and talk with others about the weird and wonderful world that’s out there. 

  1. Eat like a kid

No, this doesn’t mean order the chicken nuggets off the kids’ menu! But, do try to keep your portion sizes smaller. That way you can go back for seconds if you’re still hungry. Healthy children usually eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full because they follow their natural body and brain cues and are in tune with their hunger and fullness.

If you grew up being told to eat everything on your plate, even if you were full, don’t let that habit stick – make a conscious effort to stop when you’ve had enough. Making a child eat when they aren’t hungry overrides their natural appetite cues and has links to weight problems later in life. Has this happened to you? Eat smaller, more regular meals packed with veggies to avoid getting over hungry and binging on something you shouldn’t.

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  1. Don’t sit still

Children are always on the move and this is not only a great way to learn, but it also strengthens bones and muscles and burns kilojoules. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible for adults, especially if your job means you have to sit for long periods behind the wheel or in front of a computer terminal. If that’s the case, make sure you get up frequently and stretch.

Getting fit for kids isn’t about slogging it out on a treadmill for an hour, it’s about finding something that they love doing and doing it over and over. After all, exercise shouldn’t be a chore and doesn’t need to be. Love to walk? Visit your nearest national park and enjoy a bush walk. Love to dance? Try out that Zumba class you’ve been meaning to try. You get the picture …

  1. Know when it’s time for some R&R

When was the last time your kids said ‘I want to go home’? Generally speaking, kids know when they are tired and will let you know when they need to rest. So just like them, respect your cues and listen to your body when it tells you it’s tired. Ignoring those natural signals to rest can trigger stress and illness in both your body and mind. Lack of sleep in adults has also been linked with obesity since it triggers the release of the hunger hormone, ghrelin, as well as having links with type 2 diabetes, poor memory and loss of focus.

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  1. Ask for help

When kids need help, they ask for it, whether it’s with their homework or getting something off the top shelf. As we grow up, asking for help becomes a little harder – perhaps because we fear the way we will be perceived by others. Asking for help when you need it may put you out of your comfort zone, but it helps you learn, grow in confidence and get better (whether this is better at a skill or better health wise).

Us adults feel like we need to do everything for ourselves, but there is nothing weak or embarrassing about asking for help. Whether it’s your family, friends, GP or a support hotline, someone is always ready to help you – and you and your family deserve to get that help.

  1. Look on the bright side

Not only are kids naturally inquisitive, but they’re optimistic as well (usually!). Looking on the bright side is linked with less stress and better wellbeing. One study in the American Journal of Cardiology found that people who were more optimistic had higher levels of healthy cholesterol (HDL-cholesterol) and lower levels of triglycerides[ii], which are a type of fat. No wonder they say that laughter is the best medicine!

What are the children in your life teaching you about looking after your health?

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Simone Tregeagle, Chief Operating Officer at rt health fund, with her daughter

 

[i] Harvard Health Publications. Relaxation techniques: Breath control helps quell errant stress response. http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-errant-stress-response
[ii] The American Journal of Cardiology. Relation Between Optimism and Lipids in Midlife. http://www.ajconline.org/article/S0002-9149(13)00388-3/abstract

Whether training or at a tournament, why a mouthguard’s a must!

Being active is vital for physical health and it’s a whole lot of fun, too. But, whether it’s a kick about with friends or a competitive tournament, playing sports can be tough on your teeth.

We’re talking about chips and fractures to teeth, knocked out teeth, fractures to the jaw and injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth. All of these can be avoided or minimised with the use of a suitable mouthguard.

Even though dentists and sports teachers recommend wearing them, only around one in three Australian children do so[i]. The result? Thousands of people are treated for dental injuries due to a fall or damage resulting from equipment or accidental collisions. About a third of injuries to teeth are sports-related according to the Australian Dental Association (ADA), with children being most often affected – one in two kids experience some kind of dental injury[ii].

A good quality mouthguard is important because it absorbs and spreads the impact of a blow to the face. Some dentists suggest mouthguards are worn for non-contact sport, such as soccer and basketball as well as contact sports such as rugby. And, they’re not just important for game days – wearing a mouthguard during training is important since it helps children get used to wearing one while protecting their teeth.

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So what exactly is a mouthguard? And what kind is the best kind for your kids and why?

Dentist made mouthguards

Custom made to accurately fit your child’s mouth, a dentist made mouthguard offers greater protection compared with off-the-shelf products; they are strongly recommended by the ADA. To make one, your dentist takes an impression of the teeth and a plaster model is made from this. For the perfect fit, the mouthguard should be around 4mm thick, with enough cushioning to protect against impact. The appliance needs to fit snugly but allow the wearer to talk.

A mouthguard is an important investment in your child’s health – if he or she has a dental injury, the pain and distress and the dental and/or hospital costs are likely to cost much more than the cost of a mouthguard.

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Over-the-counter mouthguards

These boil-and-bite mouthguards are first placed into hot water before placing in the mouth. When teeth are closed over the material, the resulting impression is the shape and size of the mouth.

These mouthguards are less effective and not as comfortable as a custom made mouthguard since they won’t conform perfectly to an individual’s bite. Although cheaper than custom made mouthguards, the ADA says that over-the-counter mouthguards don’t provide enough protection and they recommend a custom mouthguard fitted by a dental professional.

Caring for your mouthguard

Your dentist will advise you to keep the mouthguard in a plastic container with vents to allow some air to reach it (oral bacteria which can cause plaque hate air and are destroyed by it). Keep it clean by washing it in warm soapy water and rinsing carefully. Antibacterial mouthwash can be used to give it a thorough disinfection. Heat can alter the shape of the mouthguard so try and keep it in a sports bag and don’t allow it to become overheated (which can happen if you keep it in the car between games and training).

Bring the mouthguard along to your six monthly dental visit so your dentist can help to keep it in good condition – or replace it if it has been damaged. And, if your child is still growing, he or she may need a new piece from time to time to accommodate growth – about every 12-18 months or so. If the mouthguard starts to feel uncomfortable, your child’s dentist can advise you.

The bottom line …

If your child is playing sport regularly, it’s important that you get them fitted with a good-quality mouthguard – then make sure that they actually wear it. This will protect their teeth long-term, potentially saving them many painful (and possibly expensive) visits to the dentist.

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Dr Karlien Roper, dentist at rt healthy teeth

[i] Australian Dental Association. About Mouthguards. http://www.mouthguardawareness.info/about-mouthguards.html

[ii] Australian Dental Association. There are easier ways to protect your child’s mouth from sports injury. http://www.ada.org.au/app_cmslib/media/lib/0803/m122630_v1_mouthguard%20poster%20a3.pdf

Testicular cancer – five common questions answered real quick!

Testicular cancer is the second most common form of cancer in young men aged 18-39. The good news is, most cases can be treated successfully and regular self-checks starting from the adolescent years are vital.

So, what do you need to know about testicular cancer?

  1. What is it? Cancer happens when abnormal cells occur and grow out of control forming a mass or tumour. These cells can invade and damage cells and tissue in other organs.
  1. Why does it occur? The exact causes of testicular cancer are not known, but a number of conditions increase the risk such as having a family or previous history of the condition.
  1. Who is affected? Testicular cancer is more common in white men than other ethnic groups. Being born with undescended testes and having HIV[i] also raises your risk of testicular cancer. Very tall men, who are 195cm (6.4 ft) or above, are three times more likely to develop testicular cancer than men of average height[ii].
  1. How is it detected? Regular self-examination is important. If you detect a swelling or lump in the testicle, which is usually painless, see your GP. A change in the shape/size of the testicle or a dullness or ache in the testes, lower abdomen or scrotum is also worth getting checked.
  1. What’s next? If the lump requires investigation, you’ll be sent for a painless ultrasound of both testicles. Often, you may also be given a blood test to identify raised levels of hormones that may indicate cancer. You might not have testicular cancer, but if you do, the sooner you start treatment, the more likely it is to be effective. Your doctor will speak with you about treatment options.

This health message is brought to you by the health and wellbeing team at rt health fund, Australia’s only dedicated, not-for-profit health fund for people who work in the transport and energy industries.

[i] American Cancer Society. Some facts about testicular cancer. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/testicularcancer/moreinformation/doihavetesticularcancer/do-i-have-testicular-cancer-facts-and-risk-factors
[ii] NHS Choices. Testicular Cancer – Causes. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cancer-of-the-testicle/Pages/Causes.aspx

Young and active? Time to get protected!

Think about health insurance and you probably won’t think about young people. After all, being young means being fit, healthy and active, doesn’t it? In my experience working with rt health fund, I’ve seen first-hand how living life to the fullest – whether it be through sports, travels and/or celebratory nights out – means that having health insurance should be high on a young person’s agenda!

Accidents happen!

People under 30 are much more likely to make a claim for unplanned medical treatment than older people. And, the kinds of accidents and injuries that go hand-in-hand with an active lifestyle can clock up huge bills.

Don’t pay extra tax

Did you know that private health insurance can actually save you money? By having private hospital cover you may be able to avoid a tax called the Medicare Levy Surcharge, which applies to Australian residents who earn over a certain amount and don’t have hospital cover. The extra you’re charged increases as your income rises.

So, for example, for the Financial Year 14/15, if you’re a single person earning $95,000, you’ll be taxed an extra $950 in Medicare Levy Surcharge. A base-level private hospital cover with rt health fund can cost less than this – so by taking out a low level of cover you may avoid the surcharge, receive the benefits of having private hospital cover and be able to choose where and when you’re treated – and who treats you, too!

Income brackets change annually so keep an eye on which income tier you fall under by visiting www.ato.gov.au.

Don’t delay or you’ll pay, and pay, and pay …

For every year you’re over 31 and don’t have private hospital cover, the government charges you a 2% loading on top of the ‘base rate’ that the health fund charges. And over the years this loading can creep up to a whopping 70%! Once you’re stuck with a loading, it’ll be yours until you’ve paid for hospital cover with a loading for ten whole years!

Get a rebate from the government

Because the government really wants you to take out private health cover, they’ll pay part of the cost of your health cover for you. It’s called the Australian Government Rebate on Private Health Insurance. You may be entitled to it if you’re an Australian resident who qualifies for Medicare and holds private health insurance.

Give yourself choices

The public health system in Australia is exceptional. There’s no doubting that. But where unexpected injury is concerned and specialist care is required, having health insurance is important if you want a say about where and when you’ll be treated and who’ll be treating you.

And this is especially important for young people who enjoy the freedom of making their own choices and taking their own direction in life. Accidents without the protection of private health insurance can see those choices disappear.

Recently, we spoke with a number of young people who shared their stories about unexpected accidents and injuries. In these cases, all of them were covered by private health insurance. And it’s a good thing too…

Ouch – you can still see the scar!

‘Playing cricket as a 22 year old, a short ball hit me on the side of my left index finger when I was batting. I heard a cracking

noise (I guess it could have been avoided if I’d used my cricket bat instead haha!). A few days later, I still wasn’t able to moveStock-image-doctor-with-xray_RSZ my finger so the GP sent me for an x-ray.

Turns out I had fractured my third metacarpal and needed a CT scan, surgery and about three months of physiotherapy.

Because I had health insurance, I could get into a hospital for surgery within a week.

And, around 70% of the physiotherapy costs were covered.

I’m really glad that I had private health insurance – there was no stress working out if I could afford the surgery or if I’d have to wait for the public system to schedule me in … and there were no hidden expenses to pay, either!’ Clinton

Stock-image-man-on-jet-ski-in-ocean_RSZToothless Tom

Imagine getting caught out with broken teeth. ‘My friends and I were mucking around on a jet ski when my mate went head-over-heels and chipped both his front teeth. He had to walk around with broken front teeth for weeks while he scraped together the money to get them fixed!’ That is definitely not something to smile about!

No injuries – still need treatment…

‘As a young dancer in my twenties, I train four to five times per week and the workouts are pretty high intensity. And even though I haven’t had an injury, I do have to see my physio regularly. Plus, I need to have sports massages to ensure that I take care of my body.

If I didn’t have health cover I might put it off – which wouldn’t do my health much good. I use the physio and massage therapy under my Extras cover and I love that I can use HICAPS for on-the-spot processing – I was out-of-pocket just $10 for my last massage!

I never thought about health insurance before joining rt health fund, which is when I started paying attention to what I could claim. And Extras Cover by itself isn’t that expensive. I have spoken about my experiences with my sister who has a little boy and she’s thinking of joining, too! You never know what you might actually need!’ Joanne

The belle of the ball

This story is all too common… ‘My cousin was walking down the stairs of a nightclub late one night, wearing super-high Stock-image-dancing-at-club_xxl_RSZstilettos, and she tripped and fell. She tore the ligaments in her leg and ended up needing surgery and physio for months after.’ It just goes to show that accidents can happen anywhere, at any time.

Thank goodness I was covered!

‘I love being active and when I was competing in sport acrobatics, I landed badly dislocating my knee. I was taken to Emergency, my knee was x-rayed and I was sent home. Three months later though, I still had knee issues.

I was sent to a specialist and had an MRI; I was told that I had a ruptured ACL (anterior cruciate ligament).

Because I was covered with private health insurance, I was in surgery within a few weeks with my choice of doctor and at my local private hospital! And, I was only a few hundred dollars out of pocket. Without health insurance, I might have had to wait months for surgery.

My brother and I have had quite a few other injuries and rt have been with us all the way!’ Megan

We’ve served Australians and their families for over 125 years and we know that one size definitely does not fit all. We offer a range of different covers which mean that young people have a choice and can enjoy the kind of lifestyle services they want – like massages, dental, optical and physiotherapy – and less of the services they don’t need.

I’m proud to say that we’re the most trusted health fund in Australia[i]. So talk with our friendly consultants about our range of great value covers today! Call 1300 56 46 46 or email join@rthealthfund.com.au.

Help us help you complement a healthy active lifestyle so you can live your life, your way!

[i] Ipsos, Healthcare and Insurance in Australia 2013

Jenna Kazokas - Marketing Coordinator at rt health fund
Jenna Kazokas – Marketing Coordinator at rt health fund