- Australia's largest health fund
- 100% back on dental check-ups
- 24/7 Medibank Nurse phone service
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There's no single health insurance that's best for everyone as all our needs are different - and what's best for you might not be best for someone else.
Honestly, no health insurance policy is perfect. They all have pros and cons, and every person has completely different health needs.
To see which fund is the most popular in Australia, we looked at two core factors. Firstly, out of our own visitors during the period of March 2020 to March 2021, Medibank was the most visited Finder partner by users. Secondly, the Commonwealth Ombudsman State of the Health Funds Report, which reports on all Australian funds' national market share, revealed Medibank had the highest percentage of members.
Beyond the statistics, when it comes to the policies on offer, Medibank offers a wide range and also gives a high standard of care to out of hospital services compared to other funds in the market, offering free activities to keep people healthy, rewards points that can be exchanged for vouchers and also a comprehensive telephone support package.
Waiting periods for hospital treatments are the same no matter which fund or policy you choose.
To make our top pick, we looked at the extras policies of every non-restricted health fund in Australia to compare waiting periods for "extras only" options. We compared the waiting period set for common treatments such as general dental, physiotherapy and optical.
Our top pick is ahm's lifestyle extras because it lets you claim heaps of benefits from day one, including general dental, optical and physiotherapy. No other policy offered this option.
With other policies, you have to wait at least 2 or 6 months to claim these benefits, unless you buy a combined hospital and extras policy. Plus, it's affordable at roughly $12 a week.
To avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge, which will cost you a minimum of $90 a month, all you have to do is get hospital cover with an excess of $750 or less.
Frank's Entry Hospital (Basic+) policy is the cheapest hospital cover available in 2021. It costs around $75 a month for a single policy based in NSW. So you'll actually save money by having a policy.
You won't get many benefits, but you will be covered for some of the basics such as tonsils, adenoids and grommets, gynaecology, joint reconstructions and dental surgery.
When choosing an extras policy, there are a few factors to consider – limits, waiting periods and also how much you can claim back for each treatment.
You can't always find this information on the tin so to speak. But each year the Commonwealth Ombudsman publishes the latest statistics via the State of the Health Funds Report. We looked at the 2020 release and reviewed each fund by general treatment (extras). Charges covered 8 common treatments (including dental, physio and optical) to see which gave the highest percentage back to the customer's pocket. St.Lukes came out a clear winner.
We also checked the percentage of general treatment (extras) charges covered across every state. To make our top pick, we excluded restricted funds and corporate policies so we could highlight an option open for all. St.Lukes came out as the top fund across both categories.
We reviewed 11 not for profit health funds in Australia.
Our rating was based on the Finder value ranking algorithm which is used to give our Finder Awards. The algorithm weighs each policy based on criteria such as the excess/co-payment amount, number of associated (agreement) hospitals, treatments covered in public or private hospitals, waiting periods and annual benefit limits.
Out of the 11 not for profit funds that we reviewed, HCF was the only not for profit fund to have a policy in the top 5 across all three categories: best bronze, silver and gold. It was also the only not for profit finalist in the Best Gold and Best Bronze awards.
The tool below lets you compare health insurance policies side-by-side - just enter your details, choose the level of cover you'd like, then click search policies.
Once you have your quotes, you can then refine your search so it's tailored to your specific needs. Just tick the benefits (such as pregnancy or dental) that are most important to you, and we'll show you policies that match.
However, there are a few important points to consider when choosing your health fund - including how partner networks operate, how excesses and waiting times are applied, and what out of pocket costs you should expect.
Others, including HCF, offer travel and accommodation benefits while some, such as Bupa and Medibank, are rolling out online health services and live video conferencing with medical professionals.
Private hospital cover is available in four different tiers - basic, bronze, silver, and gold - which provide increasingly comprehensive cover as you ascend through the levels.
However, this doesn't mean that all gold policies will be the same - features still vary between different policies, so it's important to compare before you buy.
You can choose health insurance which matches the needs of you and your family - whether you're just in the planning stage, you've already got children, or you're wrangling unruly teenagers. Make sure to look out for some key features which might be particularly useful:
Extras cover is designed to help with the cost of non-hospital healthcare - so things like dental treatments, prescription glasses, and physiotherapy are usually included. Emergency ambulance transport can also fall under extras, along with psychology consultations.
There are some important factors to consider when choosing which extras cover is best for you.
For example, nib's Core and Family Extras policy doesn't include psychology treatments but Medibank's Top Extras 55 policy will pay out $200 towards psychology treatments.
For example, ahm's Lifestyle Extras cover has no waiting period on optical or routine dental. However, CUA's Classic Extras cover - which costs a similar amount - comes with a six-month wait period for optical and a two-month wait for routine dental.
The below table shows the average amount of costs covered by service:
|Fund name (Open membership funds)||Dental ||Optical ||Physiotherapy||Psychology|
|Medibank (includes ahm)||53.50%||68.90%||46.50%||32.20%|
 For some funds, the data does not take account of discounts at some providers or fund Dental / Optical centres.
Check the deals below before buying health insurance and you could save money on your premium - or get a reward for signing up.
Picture: Philipe cavalcant, Rawpixel, Kyle Loftus, Andrew Neel - Unsplash
*Disclaimer: The products compared on this page are chosen from a range of offers available to us and are not representative of all the products available in the market. There is no perfect order or perfect ranking system for the products we list on our Site, so we provide you with the functionality to self-select, re-order and compare products. The initial display order is influenced by a range of factors including conversion rates, product costs and commercial arrangements, so please don't interpret the listing order as an endorsement or recommendation from us. We're happy to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions, but we'd like you to make your own decisions and compare and assess products based on your own preferences, circumstances and needs.
Learn the pros and cons of private vs public health in this handy guide to the differences between public and private health insurance.
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