Grandmother and granddaughter preparing food in kitchen

Health insurance for people over 80

Are you over 80? Find out what you should be looking for in a health insurance policy, along with healthy living tips.

When you’re young and fit, taking out health insurance may seem less important. However, when you’re over 80 it can provide real peace of mind. Unlike travel insurance, where over 80s can find it difficult to get cover and must undergo medical exams, private health insurance is available to Australians regardless of age or pre-existing conditions. Keep reading to find out more about health insurance for people over 80 years of age.

Compare over 80s health insurance

Details Features
Premier Package
Premier Package
  • Policy type: Hospital + extras
  • Excess: Nil, $250, $500 or $1,000
  • Emergency ambulance cover: Yes
  • 100% back on hospital and day surgery theatre fees
  • 100% back on surgically implanted prostheses
  • $1,000 annual benefit for pharmaceuticals
Get Quote More info
Prestige
Prestige
  • Restricted fund, see "More info" for details
  • Policy type: Hospital + extras
  • Excess: None
  • Emergency ambulance cover: Yes
  • Cover for cardiothoracic services
  • Cover for accidental injury
  • $2,200 annual benefit for hearing aids
Enquire Now More info
High 65 / 75 / 85%
High 65 / 75 / 85%
  • Policy type: Hospital + extras
  • Excess: Nil, $250 or $500
  • Emergency ambulance cover: Yes
  • Cover for cardiothoracic services
  • Cover hip, knee and other joint replacements
  • $300 annual benefit for healthcare appliances
Enquire Now More info
GoldStar Hospital
GoldStar Hospital
  • Policy type: Hospital only
  • Excess: Nil, $200, $400 or $500
  • Emergency ambulance: Yes (NSW & ACT only)
  • Cover for heart and chest procedures
  • Cover for joint replacement
  • Cover for palliative care
Get Quote More info
Deluxe Flexi
Deluxe Flexi
  • Policy type: Hospital + extras
  • Excess: $500
  • Emergency ambulance cover: Yes
  • Cover for all joint replacements
  • Cover for spinal fusion surgery
  • $300 annual benefit for optical
Enquire Now More info
Smart Combination
Smart Combination
  • Policy type: Hospital + extras
  • Excess: $250 or $500
  • Emergency ambulance cover: Yes
  • Cover for heart-related services
  • Cover for hip and knee replacements
  • $200 annual benefit for optical
Enquire Now More info
Gold Hospital
Gold Hospital
  • Policy type: Hospital only
  • Excess: Nil, $250 or $500
  • Emergency ambulance cover: No
  • Cover for cardiac treatment and coronary care
  • Cover for cataract and corneal implants
  • Cover for home based rehabilitation services
Enquire Now More info
Premium Hospital
Premium Hospital
  • Policy type: Hospital only
  • Excess: Nil, $250 or $500
  • Emergency ambulance cover: Yes
  • Cover for heart and therapeutic cardiac services
  • Cover for spinal surgery
  • Cover for knee, hip and other joint replacements
Enquire Now More info
Top Hospital
Top Hospital
  • Policy type: Hospital only
  • Excess: $250 or $500
  • Emergency ambulance cover: Yes
  • Cover for heart and stroke treatment
  • Cover for back surgery
  • Cover for palliative care and rehabilitation
Enquire Now More info
Top Hospital Cover
Top Hospital Cover
  • Policy type: Hospital only
  • Excess: Nil or $250
  • Emergency ambulance cover: Yes
  • Cover for accidental injury
  • Cover for spinal fusion and disc replacement
  • Cover for eye surgery including cataracts
Enquire Now More info

Why should over 80s consider health insurance?

Even if you’ve never had health insurance before, if you were born on or before 1 July 1934, the Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading – which applies a 2% increase on premiums for every year without hospital cover – won’t apply to you.

There is also a greater incentive to have health cover in later life, as those aged 70 and over receive a larger Private Health Insurance Rebate in their tax return than all other age groups (up to 35.7%).

What should over 80s health insurance cover?

If you’re over 80, chances are you will have more health problems than someone under 50 and make greater use of medical and hospital treatments and services. Health problems facing over 80s can include:

    • Osteoporosis
    • Broken bones from falls
    • Heart problems
      • Dementia
      • Cancer

So, a good health insurance policy needs to cover all eventualities and should ideally include:

        • Hospital cover. Hospital cover will offer a private or shared room in a private or public hospital, ambulance cover, theatre and intensive care fees, pharmaceuticals, x-rays and pathology. Rather than containing cover for treatments you are unlikely to use such as pregnancy and IVF, it should cover those treatments and services you are more likely to need such as cardiac surgery, joint reconstruction, non-cosmetic eye surgery, organ transplants, prosthesis, psychiatric treatment and palliative care.
        • Extras cover. Extras will cover you for services you are likely to need such as optical, dental, physio and podiatry and not those services you won’t need such as gym membership or travel vaccinations. And you should look for a policy that provides individual rather than combined benefit limits, which allows you to claim more for the services you need the most.

Tailoring your health cover to your individual needs is the best way to ensure you get value for money, and shopping around and comparing policies will allow you to see who’s offering the best health insurance options for over 80s.

How can the Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card help me?

Something else that can help to lighten the burden of health expenses in your later years is the Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card. This is a concession card that is available to Australian residents of Age Pension age, which is currently:

  • 65 years and 6 months if you were born before 31 December 1953.
  • 67 years if you were born after 1 January 1957.

The card entitles you to a range of concessions such as:

  • Cheaper prescriptions through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
  • Higher benefits for medical expenses when you exceed the Medicare Safety Net threshold.
  • Bulk billing at participating GPs.
  • Cheap travel on the Ghan, Indian Pacific or Overland rail services.

While there’s no asset test for eligibility, to receive the card you must not be eligible for an Age Pension or Veterans’ Affairs pension and your adjusted taxable annual income must be below $51,500 for singles and $82,400 for couples.

What are the benefits of healthy eating for over 80s?

Naturally, the best form of insurance to have when you’re older is good health and over 80s can help to keep a range of chronic health problems at bay by observing healthy eating habits.

A balanced diet for over 80s should include foodstuffs such as :

  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Wholegrain bread
  • Pasta and rice
  • Potatoes
  • Milk and other dairy products
  • Fish and meat
  • Eggs and beans

While beneficial minerals and carbohydrates for over 80s are:

  • Fibre to ward off constipation and digestive problems
  • Calcium to keep osteoporosis at bay
  • Zinc to boost the immune system
  • Iron for general good health

You should try and eat three meals a day, drink lots of water, lower your salt, coffee and alcohol intake and maintain a healthy body weight by exercising regularly.

What can I do to lower my blood pressure?

As well as healthy eating, lowering your blood pressure can also keep you healthier for longer when you’re over 80, as high blood pressure increases your chance of having a heart attack or stroke. Ways to reduce high blood pressure include:

  • Regular exercise. You should get roughly half an hour of moderate exercise such as walking, swimming or cycling five times a week.
  • Balanced diet. Eat regularly from the five major food groups and cut down on sugar and saturated fats.
  • Less salt. Don’t add salt to your food and look for processed foods that contain less salt.
  • Less alcohol. Don’t drink more than two standard drinks in a day.
  • Quit smoking. Quitting smoking will lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of developing heart disease and other smoking-related health problems.

How can I keep my eyesight in good condition?

Maintaining good eyesight is part of staying healthy in your 80s and ways to keep your eyes stronger for longer include:

  • Having regular eye exams and keeping your prescription glasses up to date.
  • Eating a balanced diet, which will help to protect your eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration.
  • Wearing UV-rated sunglasses, which will protect your eyes from the sun’s damaging UV rays.
  • Regularly exercising, which will help to maintain good circulation and oxygen intake – both essential for eye health.
  • Giving up smoking, which will lessen your chances of developing cataracts or macular degeneration.
  • Avoiding obesity, which can result in diabetes and possible vision loss.
  • Getting plenty of sleep, which can help to clean and lubricate your eyes.
  • Always using strong lighting when reading or doing close work to avoid eye strain.

After over 80s health insurance? Compare your options with help from an adviser

Picture: Shutterstock

Richard Laycock

Richard is the senior insurance writer at finder.com.au and is on a mission to make insurance easier to understand.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Ask a question
feedback