Find the best health insurance
See who came out on top when we scored the best health insurance in Australia.
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Finding the best health insurance
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.
As part of the Finder Awards 2020, we scored over 1500 private health insurance hospital policies in Australia.
The table below shows the highest ranking hospital policies from Finder partners for the Silver tier - we've also added a mid level extras policy to give you a benchmark. Prices shown are for a single, with a $500 excess in Sydney. Each policy was chosen 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.
How we chose these policies
The policy 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.
- The policy must be available in NSW, VIC, WA, SA and QLD
- Hospital policies will be assessed for a single person across five states (NSW, VIC, WA, SA and QLD) using Finder's health insurance engine algorithm
- An insurer may only claim one place in the final winners' list in this category
- $500 excess
Working out which is the best policy for you
Finding the best health insurance doesn't have to be hard but it does require you to answer a few questions. You need to work out what's most important to you. Are you:
One of the sad realities of the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) is that some people get health insurance just to avoid getting slugged with the levy, which is between 1% and 1.5% of your annual income. This leads many people just grabbing the cheapest complying hospital option.
But just because you're being "forced" to get cover doesn't mean can't find the best option that both satisfies the MLS requirements and is more than just a junk policy. I mean, if you're paying for a policy, why not get something for all that money you're spending?
So, if minimising tax is the name of the game, select the "Reduce tax and paying lower premiums" from our comparison tool and it will search through policy options from over 30 Australian health funds. All you'll need to do is choose which option is the best health insurance for you.
The LHC is a 2% loading that comes into effect from 1 July following your 31st birthday. Unfortunately, this loading doesn't stay at 2% but increases by that amount each year you don't have cover. So, if you wait until you're 40 to get cover, you'll end up paying an additional 20% on your premiums.
If this is the reason you're looking for cover, finding the right policy will depend on whether you just want to avoid the LHC or if you want a little extra. Use our quote comparison tool to weigh up your options so you can get the best policy at the right price. If you're just after the basics you might want to select "Basic cover with low premiums".
Starting a family?
If you're thinking about starting a family then private health insurance is probably on your list of priorities. Private health insurance is more than just a nice to have for expectant mothers as it provides you with cover for obstetrics, private rooms and other benefits not covered by the public healthcare system. You will need to get cover in advance, as most policies will have a 12 month waiting period for pregnancy-related benefits.
If cover for pregnancy is what you need, enter your details into our tool and select "Cover for pregnancy and childbirth" and see which health insurance best suits your needs.
Don't need a policy with cover for hospital but still want to claim for benefits like dental and optical? Maybe a little massage? Hey, why not? Extras policies can be great value and cover you for items not covered by Medicare.
Finding the best extras policy is all about working out what you need covered and making sure you're getting the most out of your policy.
If you're after the best extras cover for you, select "Extras only" from our quote tool and see which extras policy fits you the best.
As you get older your situation changes and it's important to find the option that suits your changing need best. Whether you're looking to switch from a family policy to something with less coverage or looking to increase your cover for services such as cardiology, it's important to review your options.
Our quote tool can help. Since you're going to be needing higher levels of cover as you get older, selecting "Better cover" might help you find the best option for you.
Who are the best health funds in Australia?
No health fund is perfect for everyone - some focus on specific regions, some are only open to particular groups, and some operate for a profit, while others don't.
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.
- Partner networks: Health funds partner with various medical professionals and service providers, so you can choose who performs your knee replacement or which dentist does your root canal. However, if your preferred service provider isn't in your health fund's partner network, you might not be able to claim as much money back.
- Excesses: You may have to pay an excess if you're admitted to hospital and opt for private treatment - but the amount will vary depending on your health fund and specific policy.
- Wait times: Health funds often apply wait times on certain procedures - this means if you buy a policy today, you might not be able to make a claim for a certain treatment until months - or even years - later.
- Out of pocket costs: Health insurance doesn't always cover all of the costs associated with an illness or injury - usually, you'll only be paid a percentage of the final bill, up to a certain limit.
- Best for rural: If you live rurally or regionally, it's worth finding out how a health fund will make its benefits worthwhile to you. Some health funds are focussed on specific regions - like HBF, which services Western Australia.
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.
Best private hospital cover
For the 2020 Finder Awards, we compared 23 gold policies, 45 silver policies, and 25 bronze policies - according to our methodology, these are the funds that came out on top:
- Gold: Bupa Gold Hospital $500 excess
- Silver: Bupa Mid Hospital Hospital $500 Excess (Silver Plus)
- Bronze: Health.com.au Bronze+ $500 excess
Best private health insurance for families
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:
- Pre-pregnancy - If you're hoping to start a family in the near future, it may be worth investing in a gold-level policy, so you can get money back for fertility treatments as well as pre and post-natal care. Keep in mind if you want private hospital care for your baby, there may be a waiting period - usually at least 12 months - between when you took your policy out and when you can claim.
- Children - Find child-friendly health insurance by looking for policies that offer cover for your kids at little or no extra cost. Some policies will waive the hospital excess if your child is admitted to hospital, while it's also worth checking for no-gap dental benefits.
- Teenagers - Most health insurers will cover dependent children up to the age of 18, but if you think your kid would benefit from the support for a little longer, you can choose a health fund which lets you extend the age limit to for children up to age 25 - providing they're still a full-time student and remain unmarried.
Best for extras coverage
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.
- Inclusions - Not all extras are created equal. You may find two policies which are similar in price but have different inclusions.
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.
- Waiting periods - Health insurers enforce waiting periods on certain treatments - but every provider applies waiting periods differently.
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.
- Limit amount - There'll also be a limit to the amount you can claim for each specific treatment - again, this will vary between different health insurance policies. Medibank's Growing Family 60 cover has a $300 limit for physiotherapy, while CUA's 60% Extras cover has a $500 limit.
- Costs covered - Extras cover won't always pay the whole cost of a treatment - instead, it will cover a percentage of the final bill. The table below shows the average percentage of costs covered by different health funds.
The below table shows the average amount of costs covered by service:
|Fund name (Open membership funds)||Dental ||Optical ||Physiotherapy||Psychology|
|Medibank (includes ahm)||52.50%||68.10%||47.80%||30.80%|
 For some funds, the data does not take account of discounts at some providers or fund Dental / Optical centres.
Best sign up deals for January 2021 from Finder Partners
Check the deals below before buying health insurance and you could save money on your premium - or get a reward for signing up.
More ways to get value for money
- Pay your premium in advance to avoid the administration fees associated with monthly payments.
- Opting to pay annually via direct debit can get you a discount with some health funds.
- Pay an excess or co-payment to lower your premium in exchange for paying a lump or daily sum if you go to hospital.
- Join a restricted membership fund if you are eligible, as the premiums are usually lower and benefits to members higher.
- Mix and match your hospital and extras cover, as two different funds may have the best* offers on each.
- If insuring your family, check how long your children can stay covered under your policy.
- To avoid paying a gap, make sure your preferred doctor and hospital both have agreements with your health fund.
- How does your health fund compare on 2021 price rises?
- Neglected your extras health insurance? Here’s how you could claim $500 back before 2021
- Huge progress as telehealth gets to stay post-Covid
- Millions of Aussies will pay more for health insurance from October
- How health insurance could save you cash in tax time 2020
- Final days before thousands of Aussies are hit with health insurance penalty
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.
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