Family health insurance
Get a better understanding of the specific health insurance needs for new parents, single parents and established families.
Compare family health insurance
Here are a range of family health insurance policies that include both hospital and extras, starting from the Bronze hospital tier. To compare all family policies on the market, use this health insurance comparison tool.
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How does family health insurance work?
A family health insurance policy means your children are covered for the same treatments and services as you are. You generally have 3 types of family health insurance to choose from:
Family hospital cover
This helps pay for in-hospital treatments at a private or public hospital, including theatre fees for surgery and accommodation. You usually get to choose your own doctor and the hospital you receive treatment at. There are 4 levels of cover to choose from: gold, silver, bronze and basic.
Family extras cover
This pays for the out-of-hospital services that Medicare doesn't generally cover. For example, dental, physio, some prescription medications and optometry.
Family combined cover
This is when you combine hospital and extras cover into a single policy. Lots of insurers offer combined packages tailored towards families.
What type of family health insurance do I need?
The type of family health insurance cover you need will depend on your life stage:
Starting a family
If you plan to start a family, or want more kids, all gold level hospital policies are required to cover pregnancy. You'll need it for at least 12 months before you can claim for childbirth or fertility treatments such as IVF.
Many family health insurance policies will cover your child as a dependent if they're under 25 and a student. If your current fund doesn't cover your child for free after they turn 21, but they're still dependent on you in some way, it could be worth switching to one that does.
How long can children remain on a family policy?
Your children can be covered under your family health insurance policy until they're no longer considered a dependant. There are 2 main classifications that are typically used:
- Student dependant. A single person aged 21 to 25 who is studying full-time can be covered by a family policy.
- Adult dependant. A single person aged 21 to 25 (in some cases 31) who is not studying full-time but is dependent on their parents in some way e.g. they live with them.
- Review your cover. As your children grow up and your circumstances change, so do your health insurance needs. Reviewing your policy each year ensures that you're being covered for the things that matter most to your family.
- Avoid combined limits. When considering an extras policy, try and find one that offers individual benefit limits for each service rather than overall combined limits. Your family may exceed individual limits if they aren't high enough.
- Don't be afraid to switch. If you find a better policy offered by a different health fund then consider changing. Your benefits and any served waiting periods must be honoured by your new fund.
- Split your cover. If one health fund has your ideal hospital policy, and another has the best* extras policy, there is no law that says you can't have a separate policy for each.
- Get full ambulance cover. Look for policies that offer full ambulance cover, which pays benefits towards ambulance fees for non-life threatening journeys as well as emergency transport.
Rebates, tax and health insurance for families
- Private health insurance rebate. This was introduced by the Australian government to help more people access health insurance. The rebate amount varies depending on your combined family income and your age. It can be claimed either as a premium reduction through your fund or as part of your tax return.
- Medicare levy surcharge (MLS). The Australian government introduced the MLS to encourage more people to take out health insurance and reduce the strain on the public health system. If you don't have cover you pay an additional surcharge on top of the standard 2% Medicare Levy once your combined family income reaches $186,000 and above (based on new income thresholds which will apply from 1 July 2023).
|MLS rate||Couples' income|
|0%||$0 - $186k|
|1.0%||$93k - $108k|
|1.25%||$108k - $144k|