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Health Insurance Finder™ is a 100% free, Australian-owned comparison service designed to help you find suitable cover for your needs.

What is private health insurance?

Health insurance helps you cover the cost of private hospital treatments as well as some out-of-hospital services, such as benefits for dental. When choosing your health insurance, you can pick hospital, extras cover or a combined policy with both.

There are some key differences between Medicare and private health insurance.

Medicare Private health insurance
Public hospital services
  • Yes
  • Yes
Ambulance
  • No
  • Yes
Private room or hospital
  • No
  • Yes
Everyday health (dentist, physio, etc)
  • No
  • Yes

Private Health Insurance Reforms

There are big changes to health insurance coming April 1. Here are 5 things you need to know.

Find health cover that suits your life

Choose your own care

Have peace of mind, whether you want choice over your hospital or your surgeon, or you just want to feel safe in the knowledge that you’ve got protection.

Save on tax

Just want a basic policy that means you don’t get penalised? We got you. Health insurance means you can avoid fearing that claim form at tax time.

Don't wait

Don’t want to sit on a public waiting list for surgery? Private health insurance can help. You’ll be able to receive treatment quicker, in a private room and from a doctor that you choose.

Get cash back

If you get regular massages, physio treatments or you just like keeping your teeth in great condition, these out-of-hospital treatments are only covered by private health insurance.

Private health insurance options

It's up to you to decide what type of private health insurance you'd like cover for:

Hospital only

A hospital policy covers you for hospital procedures and accommodation, you can also choose your doctor. Hospital cover is also what you need to avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS).

Health insurance hospital cover

Extras only

Extras cover allows you to claim for out-of-hospital health services such as dental and physio. Extras pay either a set refund or a percentage refund.

Health insurance extras cover

Combine Hospital and Extras

A combined policy includes cover for both in and out of hospital services. They are often labelled as packages such as young couples - but you can also mix and match your own.

Combined Packages

How much does health insurance cost?

Private health insurance is community rated meaning that no matter how old you are or whether you have any pre-existing conditions, everyone pays the same amount for the same cover.

The cost of health insurance comes down to the choices you make. A basic hospital policy can start from $16 a week and an extras policy from just $3 a week with April 2018 pricing.

There are ways that you can save a few dollars:

  • Prepay for your policy before 1 April each year. Every year on 1 April, health insurance premiums go up. If you prepay 12 months' worth of premiums before 1 April, you can postpone the rate rise's effect on your hip pocket.
  • Annual payment discounts. If you're planning on paying for your policy in advance for the next year, look for a fund that offers discounts for doing so. Some of these funds offer discounts of up to 4%.
  • Direct debit discounts. While we're on the topic of payment discounts, some funds offer a 4% discount for customers who pay for their premiums by direct debit.
  • Health discounts. Some funds, such as myOwn, are dipping their toes in the water and starting to reward their healthier members with discounted premiums.

What happens if you don't have private health insurance?

The Australian Government has introduced a number of schemes to encourage people who can afford private health insurance to take it out. Private health care takes the burden off the public health system so people who really need it can access it when they need to. There are a few schemes that may impact you.

  • Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading. This is designed to encourage Australians to maintain health insurance from a younger age. It does this by increasing premiums by 2% for every year after your 31st birthday that you don't have cover.
  • Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS). This is an additional tax penalty ranging from 1% to 1.5% of your annual income, depending on how much you earn, and is applied every year that you do not have an adequate private health insurance policy.
  • Private health insurance rebate. One of the major benefits of having private health insurance is being able to claim the private health insurance rebate. The rebate is determined by your age, your relationship status and your income.

Can you get cover if you're not an Australian citizen?

Yes, you can. Australian health funds offer a range of cover options for those moving to Australia. These policies are called Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC) or Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). The type of cover you need will depend on your visa. However, people from countries that Australia has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with can access a certain level of subsidised treatment from Medicare. Be aware that the benefits are very limited, with anything but the most vital medical services likely not covered.

Reciprocal Health Care Agreement countries

RHCA countries that don't require health insurance

How to compare health insurance

Each health fund is different, policy prices, services covered, annual benefit limits, excess options and sign up offers can vary. Follow these key steps when comparing:

  • Think about your requirements.Tailor your search to your budget and lifestyle.
  • Find out what services you're paying for. Make sure you're not paying for things you won't use.
  • Shop around. Don't just go with the brand you know the most, you may end up paying more.
  • Consider all the costs. Remember to check excesses, limits and co-payments.
  • Know what the annual benefit limits are. Extras apply benefit limits to many included services.

Looking to save? Check out these health insurance deals

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Get 1 month free with combined cover plus waive 2 & 6 month waiting periods

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Get 1 month free + no waiting periods on 2 & 6 month extras

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HCF Health Insurance deals HCF Health Insurance deals
Exclusive

Finder exclusive: Get up to $200 cash back with hospital and extras.

Or get $50 off hospital only or extras only products. Terms and conditions apply.

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CUA Health Deals CUA Health Deals

Get a gift card gift card worth up to $500

Offer available when you join hospital & extras. Plus claim a 4% discount when paying from a CUA everyday account.

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Health Insurance Frequently Asked Questions

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39 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    SURINDERMarch 10, 2019

    Hi there , is there a health fund which allows me to use my total benefit where ever i like to spend ,instead of their own set breakdown ?

    • finder Customer Care
      JohnMarch 11, 2019Staff

      Hi Surinder,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

      Though there currently is no health insurance provider that gives the user the ability to use their total benefits where they like to spend, you may want to check on the policies available on the page that provides anything close to what you are asking. You may also want to check the terms and conditions provided by each insurer to ensure you get the policy you wish to have covered. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  2. Default Gravatar
    DavidFebruary 19, 2019

    Do any funds cover the cost of Intraocular Lenses to cure Cataracts please?

    • finder Customer Care
      NikkiFebruary 20, 2019Staff

      Hi David,

      Thanks for getting in touch! Here is our page that talks about health insurance for major eye surgery. Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.

      Best,
      Nikki

  3. Default Gravatar
    PaulineFebruary 10, 2019

    Please give me health funds which have a policy for NO pregnancy or infertility cover.

    • finder Customer Care
      JohnFebruary 11, 2019Staff

      Hi Pauline,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      The page we are on provides you a search box where you could check what cover you would need. As per the cover you want added to your policy, you may want to direct that over to the insurance provider if this is a cover that they could provide as well as how much it would cost to add this up to the policy you would want to purchase. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  4. Default Gravatar
    NikkoJune 20, 2018

    How to combine two existing top (premium) health cover policies from adult single to a couples when both are with separate insurers? Wish to compare which of these two insurers would best cover the two of us as a couple whilst neither one loses benefits or has a waiting period. We both have been with our respective health providers for over ten years continuously.

    • finder Customer Care
      JeniJune 21, 2018Staff

      Hi Nikko,

      Thank you for getting in touch.

      If you’re currently on separate policies, the first step would be to see if you can save any cash by combining your policies – we’ve added a bit of info on that here https://www.finder.com.au/health-insurance/couples – it doesn’t always work out cheaper and it’s probably worth a closer look.

      With your waiting periods, they are different for hospital cover and general treatment (extras) cover. All of your hospital waiting periods that you’ve already served travel with you to the new policy – so if you do decide to combine your policies, you should be covered.

      Keep in mind, you’ll still have to serve waiting periods for any new benefits that you didn’t have before (such as pregnancy cover and also extras).

      If you already have a preferred health fund from your two options – it may be worth giving them a call as they can move you onto one package.

      I hope this helps. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  5. Default Gravatar
    SusanMay 25, 2018

    As a couple over 50 we would like private hospital cover with general dental, optical, physio and chiro.. what is the best option?

    • finder Customer Care
      NikkiMay 25, 2018Staff

      Hi Susan,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder.

      You may view this page to check on health insurance for over 50s.

      Hope this was helpful.

      Cheers,
      Nikki

  6. Default Gravatar
    KevinMay 24, 2018

    Hi there. My wife is already pregnant and the pregnancy insurance waiting period is 12 months!! So how does PHI work to cover her when she is giving birth? What is the solution around this?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynMay 25, 2018Staff

      Hello Kevin,

      Thank you for your comment.

      To be qualified for the private health insurance you’re advised to take out the policy in advance before attempting to conceive. Most Australian private health funds have a 12 month waiting period for obstetric services.

      This is explained on these pages:
      https://www.finder.com.au/pregnancy-health-insurance
      https://www.finder.com.au/health-insurance/waiting-periods

      I am afraid that no PHI will consider your wife’s condition as she is already pregnant, however, you can still contact the insurer directly and see what options they can offer you. I hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  7. Default Gravatar
    JoApril 19, 2018

    How does Defence Health compare to other health funds in terms of value for money – cost of premium to rebate received. The mo they premium certainly appears a lot higher than other funds but do the rebates reflect that?

    • finder Customer Care
      JeniApril 22, 2018Staff

      Hi Jo,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Defence Health offers a range of health insurance options to more than 235,000 Australians with Defence connections. With hospital and extras cover to suit everyone from the young and healthy to those who need comprehensive protection, it provides affordable cover and peace of mind.

      You may want to know more by clicking on this link.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  8. Default Gravatar
    MarcoMarch 19, 2018

    Hi, are quoted premiums before or after any Govt rebates?

    • finder Customer Care
      NikkiMarch 26, 2018Staff

      Hi Marco!

      Thanks for your question and for visiting finder.

      Quoted premiums are before government rebates. Rebate rates are subject to change based on the cost of living and the average health insurance premium amount. It would be helpful to check with your health insurance provider on their ongoing rates as well.

      Hope this helps!

      Thanks and best regards,

      Nikki

  9. Default Gravatar
    SteveMarch 8, 2018

    What does the question “Do you qualify for a restricted fund?” mean.

    • finder Customer Care
      RenchMarch 8, 2018Staff

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for your inquiry. Restricted health funds are funds where membership is restricted to certain people. They are usually operated by industry or employment groups and are not-for-profit, being run solely for the benefit of their members. You can know more information on this page.

      Best regards,
      Rench

  10. Default Gravatar
    ShaunOctober 4, 2017

    With premiums that keep increasing, I am now paying around $94 a month ($1128 per year) on something that I have never actually used over the last 6 years!
    What is the actual consequence if I walked out of heath insurance (don’t mention hypothetical scenarios such as me getting into an accident)?
    How much am I actually penalized on my tax?

    • Default Gravatar
      GruOctober 5, 2017

      Hello Shaun,

      Thank you for your question.

      If you would decide not to take on private health insurance, please be ready to face out-of-pocket costs if you do get hospitalised or need medical care and services. Out-of-pocket costs will vary greatly depending on the hospital you go to and the doctor or specialist they see.

      As per being penalised for not taking out health insurance, yes would. Another reason Australians commonly take out private health insurance is to avoid financial penalties. Australia’s tax system encourages high-income earners to take out private health insurance as well as paying the 2% levy to help fund Medicare and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

      If you do not take out private health insurance, you will pay a 2% tax penalty called the Medicare Levy Surcharge.

      Hope this helped.

      Cheers,
      Gru

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