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Cheap health insurance

Cheap health insurance starts at around $21 a week for a combined hospital and extras policy. Not bad.

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We’re committed to our readers and editorial independence. We don’t compare all products in the market and may receive compensation when we refer you to our partners, but this does not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn more about Finder .

In this guide, we'll help you compare some cheap policy options in Australia and give you access to discounts and promotions, so you can get make your money go a bit further.

Compare cheap health insurance in Australia

We compared health insurance policies from Finder partners. Below you can find some of the cheap options available - they include basic hospital and extras, meaning you'll have access to a fairly entry level of private hospital care as well as routine health care like dental.

All of these options will exempt you from the Medicare levy surcharge.

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Tier Emergency Ambulance General Dental Hide CompareBox Optical Price Per Month
ahm starter flexi basic package
Basic
$83.20
AAMI Basic Hospital Plus + Starter Extras
Basic Plus
$95.14
Suncorp Basic Hospital Plus + Starter Extras
Basic Plus
$95.14
Medibank Basic Plus Healthy Start + Healthy Start Extras
Basic Plus
$102.35
Qantas Basic Hospital + Basic Extras
Basic Plus
$105.37
health.com.au Base Hospital with Pulse 50
Bronze Plus
$107.36
Peoplecare Bronze Hospital  & Simple Extras
Bronze
$115
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

*Prices quoted are for a single policy in Sydney with a $750 excess.

How can I find affordable health insurance?

What's affordable is different for everyone, but no matter what your budget, there are some universal tips that could help you get more bang for your buck.

  • Check your coverage. If you already have health insurance and are looking for a cheaper option, consider downgrading your policy. You may be paying for benefits you don't need.
  • Compare online. Comparing health insurance online is the best way to see what else is out there and to get a good idea of how much you can expect to pay for a policy.
  • Look for discounts. Lots of health funds run offers to attract new customers. This could be a reduced-price premium, free coverage for a few weeks or some other reward.
  • Pay annually. Insurers will sometimes offer a discount if you pay annually, plus you may see reduced administration fees.
  • Pay before 1 April. Prices go up on 1 April every year. Pay in advance before this date and you'll lock in last year's rates for a while longer.
  • Pay by direct debit. Insurers typically reward customers who set up a direct debit. Your premium comes straight out of the bank, so it's convenient and could be cheaper.
  • Increase your excess. Choosing a higher excess will lower your premium. Just remember, if you're looking to avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge or Lifetime Health Cover loading, make sure the premium is no higher than $750 for a single person.
  • Look for a restricted fund. Restricted health funds offer cover to people working in specific industries as well as their families. These funds aren't run for profit, so they can be cheaper, but you have to find one that you're eligible for.
  • Check if your employer partners with a health fund. Health funds are allowed to give discounts of up to 12% to companies, which they can pass on to employees.

Get a quote for cheap health insurance

If you're just looking for the cheapest policy, the tool below can help. Fill in your details and once the results come through, you can sort by price. Easy.

What's the cheapest health insurance in Australia?

We looked at health funds in Australia – they're the ones that are open to everybody, rather than specific groups. These are the cheapest policies in each category.

Category PolicyMonthly costMore info
ExtrasHCF health insurance

HCF Starter Extras

$12.29Go to Site
Hospitalhealth.com.au health insurance

Health.com.au (Entry Hospital Basic Plus ($500 excess)

$62.68Go to Site
Hospital and extrasahm health insurance

ahm starter flexi basic

$79.70Go to Site

*Prices quoted are based on a single person, living in Sydney, checked in August 2020.

What can I expect from cheap health insurance?

Even the most basic hospital insurance policies must offer restricted coverage in three areas: rehabilitation, psychiatric services and palliative care. The cheapest hospital insurance policies will only cover these three areas. However, some policies may offer additional benefits.

We compared basic hospital insurance policies from three Finder partner health funds to see how their coverage compares. All policies have an excess of $750 and a similar price point.

Health fundPolicyWhat's covered?Monthly cost
Medibank health insuranceBasic accident and ambulance
  • Rehabilitation
  • Psychiatric services
  • Palliative care
  • Emergency ambulance transport
$71.98
ahm health insuranceEssentials basic plus
  • Rehabilitation
  • Psychiatric services
  • Palliative care
  • Dental surgery
  • Hernia and appendix
  • Joint reconstruction
  • Tonsils, adenoids and grommets
$72.12
Suncorp health insuranceBasic hospital plus
  • Rehabilitation
  • Psychiatric services
  • Palliative care
  • Dental surgery
  • Gastrointestinal endoscopy
  • Gynaecology
  • Hernia and appendix
  • Tonsils, adenoids and grommets
$73.22

*Accurate as of July 2020

What if I pay a little bit more?

The cheapest health insurance is going to cost $70-$80 a month for a hospital-only policy, but you might not get that much for your money. However, if you can spare a few more dollars every week, you might see a big difference in the level of your cover.

The table below shows the difference in average pricing and treatments by hospital tier. You can see just how much the level of cover increases for a relatively small monthly amount.

Hospital TierAverage PriceHospital TreatmentsTreatments included
Basic$79.863
  • Hospital psychiatric services
  • Palliative care
  • Rehabilitation
Bronze$90.8721
  • Brain
  • Eye
  • Ear, nose and throat
  • Tonsils, adenoids and grommets
  • Bone, joint and muscle
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Kidney and bladder
  • Male reproductive system
  • Digestive system
  • Hernia and appendix
  • Gastrointestinal endoscopy
  • Miscarriage and termination of pregnancy
  • Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy for cancer
  • Skin
  • Breast surgery (medically necessary)
  • Diabetes
  • Hospital psychiatric services
  • Palliative care
  • Rehabilitation
Silver$126.8129
  • Brain
  • Eye
  • Ear, nose and throat
  • Tonsils, adenoids and grommets
  • Bone, joint and muscle
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Kidney and bladder
  • Male reproductive system
  • Digestive system
  • Hernia and appendix
  • Gastrointestinal endoscopy
  • Miscarriage and termination of pregnancy
  • Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy for cancer
  • Skin
  • Breast surgery (medically necessary)
  • Diabetes
  • Heart, lung and vascular system
  • Blood
  • Back, neck and spine
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgery (medically necessary)
  • Dental surgery
  • Podiatric surgery (provided by an accredited podiatric surgeon)
  • Implantation of hearing devices
  • Hospital psychiatric services
  • Palliative care
  • Rehabilitation
Gold$170.9038
  • Brain
  • Eye
  • Ear, nose and throat
  • Tonsils, adenoids and grommets
  • Bone, joint and muscle
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Kidney and bladder
  • Male reproductive system
  • Digestive system
  • Hernia and appendix
  • Gastrointestinal endoscopy
  • Miscarriage and termination of pregnancy
  • Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy for cancer
  • Skin
  • Breast surgery (medically necessary)
  • Diabetes
  • Heart, lung and vascular system
  • Blood
  • Back, neck and spine
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgery (medically necessary)
  • Dental surgery
  • Podiatric surgery (provided by an accredited podiatric surgeon)
  • Implantation of hearing devices
  • Cataracts
  • Joint replacement and spinal fusion
  • Dialysis for kidney disease
  • Pregnancy, birth and neonates
  • Assisted reproductive services
  • Weight loss surgery
  • Insulin pumps
  • Chronic pain
  • Sleep studies
  • Hospital psychiatric services
  • Palliative care
  • Rehabilitation

*Prices accurate as of July 2020.

What if I just want to avoid the Medicare levy surcharge?

Cheap health insurance is your best friend if you're looking to avoid the Medicare levy surcharge and don't care about coverage. Here's why:

If you earn over $90,000 a year, or $180,000 a year as a couple, you'll be hit with an extra tax of between 1% and 1.5% of your income unless you have hospital insurance.

For people in the very lowest threshold, that's still $900 a year. You can easily find basic hospital insurance for less than that. Just make sure the excess is $750 or less per adult and you'll be exempt from the extra tax. Hooray!

IncomeAnnual MLS costSample hospital cover costPotential saving
$95,000$950$813$137
$110,000$1,375$813$562
$145,000$2,175$813$1,362

*For the sample cost of hospital cover, we averaged the price of three different basic policies, offered by three different Australian insurers. All are considered appropriate by the ATO.

What if I just want to avoid Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading?

Lifetime Health Cover loading adds a 2% fee on top of your hospital insurance for every year you didn't have cover over the age of 30. That means if you wait until you're 50 to buy hospital insurance, you'll be paying 50% more than those who got in early.

If you're worried this would make health insurance unaffordable in your later years, consider buying a cheap hospital insurance policy before the deadline. That's usually 1 July, immediately following your 31st birthday.

Buying and maintaining cheap hospital insurance will mean you won't have to pay that extra loading fee. You can upgrade to a more expensive policy later in life if you like and still be exempt from the extra charge.

Is couples health insurance cheaper than two singles?

No. Two individual policies are the same price as a couples policy with the same level of coverage. In fact, buying couples health insurance may actually end up being more expensive than if you'd bought separate health insurance policies.

That's because, in a couples policy, both members have to be on the same plan. So if one person wants top tier coverage, the other person has to get it too. If you and your partner want different levels of coverage, it's worth looking into individual policies instead.

How do I find cheap health insurance for my family?

If you're looking for health insurance to cover your family, there are a few things to bear in mind, so you can find the best policy for you and your loved ones.

  • Look for policies that waive the hospital excess for children

Usually, adults will have to pay a set amount whenever they're admitted into a hospital before the insurer will begin paying out. This is called the hospital excess. However, some insurers don't require an excess when a child is admitted to hospital. Keep an eye out for these policies!

  • Think carefully about your level of coverage

Is your family still growing or are they close to leaving the nest? Consider your life stage and the life stages of your family members before making any big decisions. If you might need fertility treatments or pregnancy services further down the line, you'll need gold-standard cover.

  • Look for insurers that let children stay on your policy

Some insurers will let your kids stay on your health insurance until they're 21; others will let them stay until they're 25. Some will only allow adult children to be covered if they're full-time students or financially dependent on you. Taking note of the differences could save you or your kids some money in the future.

Is it cheaper if I don't get health insurance?

Technically, you don't need health insurance. As long as you're entitled to Medicare, you'll be covered for free hospital treatment if you're injured, fall ill or develop a medical condition.

For many people, relying on Medicare is the cheapest option, but there are benefits to having private health insurance, and it can even save some people money.

For example, if you earn over $90,000 a year, or $180,000 a year as a couple, you're hit with an extra tax unless you have hospital insurance. You can buy cover for less than the cost of the tax penalty, so it makes financial sense to get cover – even if you don't want it.

Certain extras policies can also save you money if you regularly spend cash on non-hospital healthcare, such as prescription glasses, dental check-ups or even remedial massage. That's because you can easily claim back more than you pay in premiums over the course of the year.

Remember though, private health insurance doesn't mean you'll get treatment for free. Whether it's a hospital or extras policy, you'll usually have some out-of-pocket costs. The exceptions are no-gap dental and no-gap optical, which are only offered by some health funds.

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    SueFebruary 9, 2017

    Can I claim gym membership with extras only cover?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RichardFebruary 10, 2017Staff

      Hi Sue,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Some funds will provide you with discounted gym memberships but it will depend on your policy. For more information, please head over to our health insurance and gym memberships article where you will find what you may be able to claim from each fund.

      Cheers,
      Richard

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