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Hospital cover in Australia

Private hospital cover helps pay for treatment in private hospitals, offering more flexibility and shorter surgery waiting lists. Policies start from less than $75 a month and may help cut your tax bill.

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Cheap hospital cover

If you're just looking for the cheapest hospital cover available, here are a few basic tier policies from Finder partners. All of these will exempt you from the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) and the Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading.

Top Pick for

hbf

HBF Basic Hospital Plus image


From $80.44 per month*

Cover for: joint reconstructions | tonsils adenoids and grommets
Restricted cover for: hospital psychiatric services | rehabilitation | palliative care

Go to site More info

*Quotes are based on a single individual with less than $90,000 income, $500 excess and living in Sydney.

What you should know about cheap hospital cover

Not a lot is covered. The cheapest policies usually only give you restricted cover for rehabilitation, hospital psychiatric services and palliative care. Some of the policies featured above are "plus" policies that cover some additional treatments – keep an eye out for these.

There may be high excesses. The cheapest policies may come with a high excess, so you'll have to pay a big lump sum before you get any help from your insurer. The polices in the table listed above all have a $500 excess, which is lower than many.

You may have waiting periods to serve later. If you get a low level of health insurance now then upgrade later, you'll still have to serve the waiting periods for any benefits that weren't included in your initial policy.

Compare bronze hospital cover

If you're looking for cheap hospital cover for more treatments than a basic policy, here are some options from Finder partners. They're all bronze-tier policies that cover a reasonable range of treatments.

1 - 10 of 11
Name Product Treatments Price Apply
starter bronze
Bronze$750 excess
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Ear nose and throat
  • Blood
  • Back neck and spine
  • Dental surgery
  • Eye excluding cataracts
  • Cancer
  • Lung and chest
  • +14 other treatments covered
$86.14
per month
Medibank Bronze Everyday
Bronze$750 excess
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Ear nose and throat
  • Blood
  • Back neck and spine
  • Dental surgery
  • Eye excluding cataracts
  • Cancer
  • Lung and chest
  • +14 other treatments covered
$86.29
per month
Medibank Bronze Everyday
Bronze$500 excess
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Ear nose and throat
  • Blood
  • Back neck and spine
  • Dental surgery
  • Eye excluding cataracts
  • Cancer
  • Lung and chest
  • +14 other treatments covered
$88.92
per month
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Ear nose and throat
  • Blood
  • Back neck and spine
  • Dental surgery
  • Eye excluding cataracts
  • Cancer
  • Lung and chest
  • +14 other treatments covered
$89.64
per month
starter bronze
Bronze$500 excess
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Ear nose and throat
  • Blood
  • Back neck and spine
  • Dental surgery
  • Eye excluding cataracts
  • Cancer
  • Lung and chest
  • +14 other treatments covered
$92.62
per month
Bronze Hospital $750/$1500
Bronze$750 excess
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Ear nose and throat
  • Blood
  • Back neck and spine
  • Dental surgery
  • Eye excluding cataracts
  • Cancer
  • Lung and chest
  • +14 other treatments covered
$94.84
per month
Bronze Hospital $750
Bronze$750 excess
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Ear nose and throat
  • Blood
  • Back neck and spine
  • Dental surgery
  • Eye excluding cataracts
  • Cancer
  • Lung and chest
  • +14 other treatments covered
$97.60
per month
Medibank Bronze Everyday
Bronze$250 excess
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Ear nose and throat
  • Blood
  • Back neck and spine
  • Dental surgery
  • Eye excluding cataracts
  • Cancer
  • Lung and chest
  • +14 other treatments covered
$99.48
per month
Bronze Hospital $500/$1000
Bronze$500 excess
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Ear nose and throat
  • Blood
  • Back neck and spine
  • Dental surgery
  • Eye excluding cataracts
  • Cancer
  • Lung and chest
  • +14 other treatments covered
$99.86
per month
Bronze Hospital $500
Bronze$500 excess
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Ear nose and throat
  • Blood
  • Back neck and spine
  • Dental surgery
  • Eye excluding cataracts
  • Cancer
  • Lung and chest
  • +14 other treatments covered
$107.03
per month
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All prices are based on a single individual with less than $90,000 income and living in Sydney.

What is hospital only health insurance?

Hospital only health insurance lets you be treated at private or public hospital as a private patient – usually with your choice of doctor. Hospital cover also pays a share of your medical costs when you're admitted to the hospital, such as accommodation and theatre fees. Hospital cover can give you more flexibility as a patient, including access to shorter surgery waiting lists. It comes in 4 tiers: basic, bronze, silver and gold.

Heart

Hospital only

Hospital cover helps pay for treatment in a private hospital, and may help you save money at tax time.
Ambulance

Extras only

Extras cover will chip in for medical costs outside hospital, such as optical, dental, physio and chiro.
Combined

Combined

Combined policies have both hospital and extras coverage, offering the most comprehensive coverage available.

Pros and cons of hospital health insurance

Pros

  • With 4 tiers to choose from and dozens of health funds, it's possible find cover that's tailored to your individual needs.
  • With a hospital plan, you can swerve long elective surgery waiting lists at public hospitals.
  • Basic hospital policies can cost less than what you'd be hit with if the Medicare levy surcharge, a government levy, applies to you. Getting in early can also help you make premium savings due to the Lifetime Health Cover loading.

Cons

  • Top tier plans offer wide-ranging cover, but they can add more than $200 to your insurance bills each month. More basic plans come with limited perks.
  • Out-of-pocket costs still apply when the cost of your health service is more than the MBS item fee.
  • You can't usually claim for pre-existing medical conditions for the first 12 months of your policy. A pre-existing condition is any ailment you've suffered from within the 6-month period before your insurance starts.

What are the hospital health insurance tiers?

Each health insurance tier covers a standardised set of treatments. Here's a quick summary of each tier.

Gold health cover

Gold hospital cover

Gold-tier hospital insurance covers all 38 treatments outline by the Australian government. This includes treatments such as joint replacements, pregnancy and insulin pumps, as well as all services covered by silver-tier policies.
Typical cost: From around $160 a month for a single policy.

Silver health cover

Silver hospital cover

Silver-tier hospital insurance covers at least 26 treatments outlined by the Australian government. This includes treatments such as dental surgery, lung and chest and podiatric surgery, as well as all services covered by bronze-tier policies.
Typical cost: From around $115 a month for a single policy.

Bronze health cover

Bronze hospital cover

Bronze-tier hospital insurance covers at least 18 treatments outlined by the Australian government. This includes joint reconstructions, ear, nose and throat and gynaecology treatments, as well as all services covered by basic-tier policies.
Typical cost: From around $80 a month for a single policy.

Basic health cover

Basic hospital cover

Basic-tier hospital insurance isn't required to fully cover any treatments outlined by the Australian government, but it needs to have restricted cover for rehabilitation, hospital psychiatric services and palliative care. Basic cover is primarily used to avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge and Lifetime Health Cover loading.
Typical cost: From around $75 a month for a single policy.

If a policy is described as a "plus", then it will cover the minimum number of treatments for its tier plus at least 1 treatment from the next tier up. For a full list of the treatments covered by gold policies, open the drop-down below.

Hospital health insurance and tax (the MLS and LHC)

There are 2 different government schemes that may cost you money if you do not have hospital cover.

Rich person

Medicare Levy Surcharge

If you earn over $90,000 and don't have hospital cover, you'll be taxed between 1% and 1.5% of your wage due to the MLS. Get a cheap policy and you can avoid the tax.

For a lot of people, the cost of a hospital policy can actually be less than what they'd be taxed if they didn't have it. So even if you don't plan on using private health insurance, it can make financial sense to get a policy anyway.

30 year old

Lifetime Health Cover loading

LHC loading kicks in on 1 July immediately following your 31st birthday. For every year you don't have health insurance from that date, you'll be charged an extra 2% when you eventually do decide to get a policy.

That means if you wait until you're 41, your premiums will be 20% higher than they would have been if you took out a policy before the deadline. Get life insurance before the deadline and you won't be hit with the penalty.

Gold hospital cover

If you're looking for premium-level hospital cover, a gold-tier policy is the best you can get. It's the only type of policy that has to offer unrestricted access to all 38 categories and covers treatments related to pregnancy, weight-loss surgery and joint replacements.

1 - 10 of 14
Name Product Treatments Price Apply
  • Cataracts
  • Joint replacements
  • Palliative care
  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Sleep studies
  • Weight loss surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Insulin pumps
  • +30 other treatments covered
$169.56
per month
  • Cataracts
  • Joint replacements
  • Palliative care
  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Sleep studies
  • Weight loss surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Insulin pumps
  • +30 other treatments covered
$176.68
per month
Gold Hospital $750
Gold$750 excess
  • Cataracts
  • Joint replacements
  • Palliative care
  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Sleep studies
  • Weight loss surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Insulin pumps
  • +30 other treatments covered
$179.21
per month
  • Cataracts
  • Joint replacements
  • Palliative care
  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Sleep studies
  • Weight loss surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Insulin pumps
  • +30 other treatments covered
$193.76
per month
  • Cataracts
  • Joint replacements
  • Palliative care
  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Sleep studies
  • Weight loss surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Insulin pumps
  • +30 other treatments covered
$199.94
per month
  • Cataracts
  • Joint replacements
  • Palliative care
  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Sleep studies
  • Weight loss surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Insulin pumps
  • +30 other treatments covered
$201.49
per month
  • Cataracts
  • Joint replacements
  • Palliative care
  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Sleep studies
  • Weight loss surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Insulin pumps
  • +30 other treatments covered
$210.09
per month
  • Cataracts
  • Joint replacements
  • Palliative care
  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Sleep studies
  • Weight loss surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Insulin pumps
  • +30 other treatments covered
$214.04
per month
  • Cataracts
  • Joint replacements
  • Palliative care
  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Sleep studies
  • Weight loss surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Insulin pumps
  • +30 other treatments covered
$218.77
per month
  • Cataracts
  • Joint replacements
  • Palliative care
  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Sleep studies
  • Weight loss surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Insulin pumps
  • +30 other treatments covered
$219.35
per month
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All prices are based on a single individual with less than $90,000 income and living in Sydney.

How does hospital cover work?

If you receive an in-hospital service as a private patient, Medicare typically covers 75% of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee. Your private health cover will pay the remaining 25%.

However, a doctor or specialist won't always stick to the MBS fee set by the government as a fair fee for a service or treatment. In this case, you'd have to pay an out-of-pocket fee known as "the gap".

Some insurers have deals with healthcare providers that mean all or some of the gap is covered by your health fund.

Hospital cover only helps with items that are on the MBS. If the treatment you want isn't on the MBS, you won't get help from private hospital cover.

Waiting periods for hospital cover

The main hospital covers and their waiting periods include:

Service coveredTypical waiting period
Emergency ambulance cover1 day
Accidental injury benefit1 day
Acute mental health treatment2 months – a one-time waiver may apply
Rehabilitation2 months
Palliative care (for life-limiting illnesses)2 months
Pregnancy and birth12 months
Pre-existing conditions12 months

Waiting periods vary depending on your policy. The services listed here do not represent a complete list of services covered under all hospital policies. Depending on your fund and policy, you may find many other cover options to match your needs.

What isn't covered by private hospital insurance?

No matter what level of health insurance you get, there are certain things that won't be covered. They include the following:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions within the first 12 months
  • Out of pocket costs (that's when your doctor charges more than the MBS item fee)
  • Fees for any specialists you see outside of hospital
  • Any services you receive outside of hospital
  • Any medical treatment that does not have an MBS item number
  • Hospital stays that are longer than 35 days
  • Cosmetic surgery for non-medical reasons

Health insurance deals from participating funds for July 2022

Store Discount
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Get 6 weeks free + 2&6 month waits on extras waived

New joins on eligible hospital & extras by July 20.

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Get 6 weeks free, up to $250 in gift cards + 2&6 month waits on extras waived

New members only, T&Cs apply. Ends July 10.

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Get 6 weeks free + 2&6 month waits waived on extras on eligible products

New joins on eligible hospital & extras by July 31. T&Cs apply.

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Get 6 weeks free on eligible Hospital and Extras cover with HBF

Join HBF by 3 July 2022 on eligible Hospital and Extras cover and get 6 weeks free after 4 months. T&Cs apply.

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Get deal
VERIFIED

Deal ends

Join and earn up to 120,000 Qantas Points

Plus, skip the 2 & 6 month waiting periods on Extras with combined Hospital and Extras cover. Eligibility criteria and T&Cs apply.

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Deal ends

Get 6 weeks free + Waive 2 & 6 months waiting periods

Join hospital only or combined hospital & extras cover by 31 July 2022 for new members.

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Exclusive

Coupon code ends

Get $100 gift card + 10% off on extras premium (with combined cover)

Join hospital only or combined hospital & extras cover for new members. T&Cs apply.

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HCF members can get loyalty rewards and discounts across Australian stores

Health fund members can claim up to 43% off Palace cinemas, 8% off Hoyts e-gift cards & more.

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Get up to $300 off + Waive 2 & 6 months waiting period on extras

Get up to $300 off when you choose Hospital + Extras cover. Plus, skip the 2 or 6 month wait on Extras!

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Get 6 weeks free. PLUS 2-month waits on extras waived

Offer applies for new joins on hospital and extras by 31 July. T&Cs apply.

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GMHBA dealsGMHBA deals
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Get 6 weeks free + 2&6 month waits on extras waived

New joins on eligible hospital & extras by July 14. T&Cs apply.

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Frequently asked questions


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6 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    MandyDecember 26, 2021

    I am a senior looking for basic hospital, no extras, and will accept pre existing conditions, or have a short waiting time

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JamesJanuary 17, 2022Staff

      Hi Mandy,

      For more specific information – and to compare your options – you can visit our seniors health insurance guide.

      Many of the policy benefits with major funds carry a 2-month waiting period for a number of treatments; however, it’s typically 12 months for pre-existing conditions.

      Often, you won’t need to re-serve a waiting period for a benefit or treatment you held with your previous policy, as long as the treatment’s covered on the same terms with your new policy. However, if the policy you’re switching to has higher benefit limits or cover for the treatment isn’t covered by your original policy, then serving those waiting periods is a must.

      You may want to reach out to a provider directly if you’ve any further questions about their cover.

      Regards,
      James

  2. Default Gravatar
    JulieDecember 10, 2018

    Need to find health insurance that covers plastic surgery, breast lift and augmentation and lower body lift please.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniDecember 14, 2018Staff

      Hi Julie,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      A top hospital cover will usually include plastic and reconstructive surgery. Please note that you will need to compare using the filter for ‘cosmetic surgery’ in your health insurance policy (part of hospital cover). It is also important to note that it’s only covered if deemed medically necessary, so best to check each specific surgery with the insurer directly. Not all surgeries are covered in full too – so always best to ask for the specifics.

      You may seek help from one of our health insurance teams on 1300 594 882 to help you fully understand your options when it comes to health insurance for plastic surgery. Also, consider your cover needs and discuss the policies available with your health fund before deciding on the right policy for you.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  3. Default Gravatar
    CherylJuly 28, 2018

    Which hospital cover insurance is best value option for gastric lap band surgery please

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      CharisseAugust 3, 2018Staff

      Hi Cheryl,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder!

      While we can’t recommend specific policies or insurers to our users, you may utilize our page to compare policies from insurers covering weight-loss surgeries such as lap band surgery.

      Please ensure that you carefully read through relevant documents such as Product Disclosure Statements/Terms and Conditions when comparing your options before making a decision to make sure it caters to your needs.

      Cheers,
      Charisse

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