What is basic extras cover? Learn more about this affordable health insurance.
Just like hospital insurance, extras policies are offered by health funds in three varying levels of cover designed to suit different life stages. While comprehensive and medium extras policies are more relevant to those who are older or who have families, basic extras is aimed at people with low health care requirements such as young, healthy singles and couples
Compare basic extras cover offered by Australian health funds
- As the title implies, basic extras cover provides only a basic level of cover. This means it only covers a limited number of ancillary services and the benefit limits payable for those services are much lower than those offered by medium and comprehensive extras cover.
- Basic policies also often combine benefit limits for several services (e.g. physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage and natural therapies), unlike comprehensive and medium policies, which typically offer separate benefit limits for individual services. The disadvantage of this is that you can quickly use up your annual benefit limit in just a few visits to a handful of service providers.
- If you have a family with high ancillary health care needs, or you use one particular service more frequently than others, you might be better off taking out medium or comprehensive cover rather than just a basic policy.
Basic extras policies tend to only cover medical services such as:
- General dental
- Preventative dental
- Optical (although this depends heavily on the provider)
Therefore it is more suited to those who are young and healthy and who don’t have need for a high level of ancillary cover. For example, if you only go to the dentist for teeth cleaning or the odd filling, basic cover may be all you need, but if you require more complex dental procedures such as bridgework then medium or comprehensive cover may be a much better choice.
Because Medicare does not cover any of these ancillary services, some form of extras cover is normally required. But if you don’t use these services a lot, then basic extras provides the ideal entry level cover to ensure you’re not paying more than you need to.
Basic extras cover also excludes a wide variety of ancillary services for which a benefit will not be paid. These include:
- Major dental
- Medical appliances
- Orthotic appliances
- Psychological consultations
- Hearing aids
- Peak-flow meters
- Pharmacy drugs
- Podiatry consultations
- Asthmatic spacers
- Complementary therapies
- Healthy Lifestyle programs
- Occupational therapy
- Orthoptics (eye therapy)
- Optical (excluded by some and included by others)
- Speech therapy
- Blood glucose/pressure monitors
The following are the basic extras policies offered by some of Australia’s leading health funds:
|Health fund||Basic extras policies available*||Find out more|
|HIF||HIF’s Vital Options policy provides an $800 combined limit for services that include:||More info|
|Peoplecare||Peoplecare's Basic Extras policy provides cover for services such as:||More info|
|health.com.au||The Base65 policy offers 65% back on your extras, and includes services such as:||More info|
|AHM||AHM’s Basic Extras policy lets you choose your provider and covers services that include:||More info|
|Australian Unity||Australian Unity’s Basic Extras policy lets you choose your provider and includes cover for:||More info|
|CBHS Health Fund||The CBHS Essential Extras policy covers services that include:||More info|
|GMHBA Health Insurance||GMHBA’s Bronze Extras policy offers 55% back on services which include:||More info|
|HCF||HCF’s Bronze Extras policy includes cover for services such as:||More info|
|nib||nib’s Core and Family Extras policy covers services that include:||More info|
|Transport Health||Transport Health's Young Singles Cover includes a $300 limit per service up to $600 per policy on treatments that include:||More info|
The following are some additional points that you should be aware of when comparing basic extras cover:
- Waiting periods. Most ancillary services have waiting periods before benefits will be paid. These are usually two months, but if you’re switching from another fund, many insurers will often waive these waiting periods.
- Benefit limits. As mentioned previously, separate benefit limits are preferable to combined limits. Some insurers also offer percentage benefits (usually from 60% to 100%), which can be better than dollar amounts, particularly if the provider charges more than the average fee.
- Preferred providers. Many funds use a network of preferred service providers. The advantage of this is that the provider charges an agreed fee, meaning there may be no gap to pay. The disadvantage could be that there may be no provider close to where you live, so it pays to check with the fund before taking out cover.