Before you take out couples health insurance, know the facts.
Surely you can save some money by jumping onto a couples health insurance policy?
Well, maybe not. We’ll compare two singles policies vs one couples policy and you can decide for yourself which works best.If you'd prefer to jump straight in and search for yourself, you can quickly do that below.
Compare couples health insurance from 30+ Australian funds
Things you need to know
Other than minor conveniences, there are no real benefits.
You both have to have the same level of cover, which could end up costing more.
Two singles policies often works out better.
What insurers don't tell you
When you dig into the details, you’ll find there isn’t much to a couples product that sets it apart:
A couples health policy is no cheaper than two singles policies
Private health insurance in Australia hinges on the principle of "community rating", meaning insurers can’t charge one person more than another for the same policy. Offering you a discount just because you’ve joined someone else’s policy wouldn’t be fair to all the other singles out there.
Take a look at the table below, we've picked a mid level of cover from Australian health funds to demonstrate how much you would save (or pay) by taking out a couples policy rather than 2 singles.
|Providers||Policy name||Singles Price*||Couples Price||Difference|
|Australian Unity||Mid Hospital||$111.05||$222.15||$0.05|
|Budget Direct||Mid Hospital||$91.20||$182.45||$0.05|
|Bupa Health||Budget Hospital||$93.95||$187.95||$0.05|
|CBHS Health Fund||Limited Hospital 70||$97.09||$194.18||$0.00|
|CBHS Corporate||Silver Hospital||$133.81||$267.61||-$0.01|
|CDH||Silver Hospital Cover||$126.31||$252.62||$0.00|
|Defence Health||Value Hospital 400||$118.36||$236.71||-$0.01|
|Doctors Health Fund||Smart Starter||$86.48||$172.96||$0.00|
|Emergency Service Health||Lifelong Hospital||$157.78||$315.57||$0.01|
|Frank Health Insurance||Best Hospital||$138.63||$277.26||$0.00|
|GMHBA||Gold Hospital Level 2||$145.32||$290.64||$0.00|
|GU Health||Diamond Hospital 500||$101.51||$203.02||$0.00|
|HBF||Mid Family Hospital Cover||$144.62||$289.20||-$0.04|
|HCF||Mid Hospital 500||$101.25||$202.50||$0.00|
|Health Care||Premier Hospital||$170.61||$335.48||-$5.74|
|Health Partners||Gold Value Hospital||$137.27||$274.53||-$0.01|
|Latrobe Health||Basic hospital cover||$100.02||$200.04||$0.00|
|Mildura Health Fund||Basic Hospital||$97.93||$195.86||$0.00|
|Navy Health||Core Hospital 500||$112.71||$225.43||$0.01|
|nib||Standard Hospital 500||$108.23||$216.45||-$0.01|
|Nurses and Midwives Health||Mid Hospital 300||$109.40||$218.84||$0.04|
|Onemedifund||Private Plus Hospital||$154.02||$308.04||$0.00|
|Phoenix Health Find||Mid Hospital||$119.41||$238.83||$0.01|
|Police Health||Top Hospital||$153.40||$306.80||$0.00|
|Qantas Assure||Mid Hospital||$109.44||$218.87||-$0.01|
|Reserve Bank Health Society||Gold Hospital||$167.34||$334.68||$0.00|
|RT Health Insurance||Step Up Hospital||$114.00||$228.00||$0.00|
|St. LukesHealth||Hospital 1000||$125.53||$251.05||-$0.01|
|Teachers Health||Mid Hospital 500||$99.16||$198.31||-$0.01|
|Westfund Health||Gold Hospital 500||$157.80||$315.82||$0.22|
|Providers||Policy name||Singles Price||Couples Price||Savings|
|Apia||Essential Plus Extras||$44.94||$87.20||-2.68|
|Australian Unity||Bronze Extras||$30.55||$61.15||0.05|
|Budget Direct||Basic Extras 55%||$32.90||$65.85||0.05|
|Bupa Health||Your Choice Extras||$37.35||$74.70||0.00|
|CBHS Health Fund||Intermediate Extras||$35.97||$71.94||0.00|
|CBHS Corporate||Silver Extras||$47.00||$93.98||-0.02|
|Defence Health||Essentials Extras||$22.01||$44.02||0.00|
|Doctors Health Fund||Essential Extras||$51.50||$103.05||0.05|
|Emergency Service Health||Lifelong Extras||$97.30||$194.59||-0.01|
|Frank Health Insurance||Some Extras 80%||$39.44||$78.88||0.00|
|GU Health||Silver Cover||$101.44||$202.87||-0.01|
|HBF||Saver Flexi Extras Cover||$29.54||$59.11||0.03|
|HCF||Silver Plus Extras||$28.75||$57.51||0.01|
|Health Care||Active Life Extras||$27.82||$55.60||-0.04|
|Health Partners||Silver Extra||$37.43||$74.85||-0.01|
|Latrobe Health||BA: Basic Ancillary table||$26.49||$52.97||-0.01|
|Medibank||Healthy Start Extras||$24.17||$48.30||-0.04|
|Mildura Health Fund||Ancillary Plus and Dental||$45.20||$90.40||0.00|
|Navy Health||Healthy Living Extras||$45.96||$91.92||0.00|
|nib||Core, Wellbeing and Young at Heart Extras||$63.56||$124.41||-2.71|
|Nurses and Midwives Health||Top Extras||$56.72||$113.44||0.00|
|Police Health||SureCover Extras||$82.05||$164.10||0.00|
|Qantas Assure||Lifestyle Extras||$58.62||$115.47||-1.77|
|Reserve Bank Health Society||Extras Cover||$133.45||$266.91||0.01|
|RT Health Insurance||Smart Extras||$50.51||$101.01||-0.01|
|St. LukesHealth||Budget Extras||$22.67||$45.35||0.01|
|Teachers Health||Essential Extras||$36.55||$73.11||0.01|
|Transport Health||Healthy Choice Extras||$37.67||$75.33||-0.01|
|TUH||Mid Range Extras||$44.46||$88.03||-0.89|
|Westfund Health||Value Extras||$21.04||$42.07||-0.01|
*Singles price is based on a single male living in the State of New South Wales in April 2018.
You could end up paying for protection you don't need
A couples policy isn’t very flexible and requires both people to have the same level of protection. If one of you needs a more expensive policy, then other person will have to pay the same rate. Case in point: if the woman needs to be covered for pregnancy, the man will also need to pay for his own pregnancy benefits. You know, in case he ever needs to use them!
There are some administrative conveniences, but they’re not worth it for most couples
If you’re cool with not saving money and you both have the same insurance needs, then maybe you can eek out some logistical conveniences like receiving only a single bill and having mutual authority over the policy. But as you’ll see in the next section, you can use some workarounds to achieve similar results with two separate policies.
So what now?
Let’s explore your cover options. Pick from the singles or couples route and we’ll guide you through what to do next. You can compare cover from over 30 funds and get one more thing ticked off your to-do list.
How would you like to take out your health insurance?
You’ve made a good decision by deciding to keep your policies separate. Let’s see what you’ve gained:
- You’ve demonstrated your savviness. You didn’t fall for the empty promises and slick packaging. You did your due diligence and settled on the right choice, not the popular one.
- You can be more nimble. If either one of you need extra protection down the road, that person can easily upgrade without the other having to wiggle out of a policy that’s suddenly become too expensive for them.
If you’re wondering what you’re giving up, the answer is: not much. But if you’re still concerned, here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t be:
You can still act on each other’s behalf
By joining a couples policy, you’ll automatically have authority to speak on each other’s behalf and make changes to the policy. But you can do something similar on separate policies. Simply fill out a delegated authority form for each policy, and you’ll be granted with many of the same authorisations.
You can streamline your charges
A combined policy will conveniently send you one combined bill, payable via a combined direct debit. Although you can’t do exactly this with separate policies, you can get close. Just have both bills debited on the day using the same card by requesting that your individual providers change your payment date and funding sources.
You’re not missing out on the mythical “combined extras”
Let’s say you’re more likely to visit the dentist while your partner visits a physio more than you do. It’s tempting to think a combined policy will let you tap into each other’s benefit limits to make them go farther. But that’s not the way it works. With a combined policy, the benefit limits are applied on a "per person" basis. Nothing to be gained here.
What if we are planning to start a family?
Remaining on two separate singles policies makes sense especially if you’re planning to start a family, so just wait after the baby’s born to sort everything out.
This will keep you from paying double for pregnancy cover. But more importantly, your baby’s insurance needs will be fully met from their date of birth even if you organise their cover later.
You or your partner’s existing insurer will let you wait until after your child’s birth (usually around two months after delivery) to add them as a dependent the singles policy or to upgrade everyone onto a family policy. They’ll backdate the baby’s start date to his or her date of birth so there’s no gap in protection.
Fair call – maybe those logistical conveniences take a weight off your plate. It makes perfect sense for certain couples who both need the same level of protection now and who don’t anticipate needing different levels of protection any time soon. Let’s dive into some of the details.
What counts as a couple?
For purposes of health insurance, a couple is considered any two people who are married, in a registered relationship or in a defacto relationship. You may be required to provide evidence of your status.
How to get the most value out of a combined policy
The key here is to do all you can to retain the same level of protection for both people so that one partner isn’t paying for unneeded benefits. A lot of that depends on your future plans and your individual risk factors. You’ll probably want to talk to an insurance broker who can help you understand how your future needs might affect your premiums.
Is it possible to combine benefit limits?
Unfortunately most benefits have "per person" limits. So even on a dedicated couple’s policy, one partner can’t blow through their limits and then tap into the other person’s benefits. So if you were hoping you could both swap your extras around to make them go farther, you’re out of luck.
Will combining our policies have any effect on our Medicare Levy or Medicare Levy Surcharge?
No. Your medicare levy and medicare levy surcharge obligations are calculated based on your official status as a couple and on your level of cover. It doesn’t have anything to do with how any particular insurer has decided to bundle their products.
What to look for in your couples policy
So you’ve decided to go for it. Having the same level of cover as your partner makes sense, and you’ll take any little convenience you can get. Let’s look at some ways you can get the most bang for your buck:
- Dig for some deals. Save some cash or grab some other perks by taking advantage of sign-up bonuses. Insurers will offer discounts, a free month of cover, waived waiting periods and other perks just to get your business. Tell them it’s for a couple and you may get double.
- Eyeball your extras. If you go for an extras package, make sure it has something for both of you. You don’t want your partner going without her eyeglasses while you sit back and enjoy your remedial massages.
- Pay upfront. If the two of you can scrounge up enough money to pay for a full year in advance, you might get some love from the insurer in the form of a discount.
- Look closer to home. If you love your current policy, there’s no use giving up on it. Check if they have a couple’s policy, and try to negotiate a discount or other perks in return for bringing your partner to the party.
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