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Basic hospital cover

Basic hospital cover may help you save on tax from $20 a week*. Basic policies won't cover much, but 'basic plus' policies can cover for a range of treatments.

What you need to know:

  • Basic hospital insurance won't cover much. Policies only have to partially cover 3 treatments.
  • If you want better cover, go for a basic plus, bronze, silver or gold policy.
  • Basic hospital policies start from around $20 a week*, and may help reduce your tax burden.

*Prices are based on a single person living in Sydney earning less than $93,000 per year.

Pros and cons of Basic health insurance

Pros

  • Cheap cover that exempts you from the Medicare Levy Surcharge and the Lifetime Health Cover loading.
  • Lots of 'Basic plus' policies are available that give you affordable access to some Bronze-tier treatments.
  • Most Basic policies also include ambulance coverage – however, you will need to check the policy details.

Cons

  • Only required to offer restricted cover for rehabilitation, hospital psychiatric services and palliative care.
  • Many Basic policies won't cover treatment in private hospitals. Instead, they will cover you as a private patient in a public hospital.
  • Doesn't include coverage for common treatments like ear, nose and throat, bone, joint and muscle, and joint reconstructions.

Compare more Basic health insurance policies

Here you can find some of the cheapest Basic hospital options from Finder partners. They cover emergency ambulance and would make you exempt from the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) at tax time. All prices are based on a single individual with less than $93,000 income and living in Sydney.

Name Product Treatments Price Apply
  • Rehabilitation
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Dental surgery
  • Hernia and appendix
  • Eye excluding cataracts
  • Pain management
  • Gynaecology
  • Lung and chest
$77.92
per month
  • Rehabilitation
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Dental surgery
  • Hernia and appendix
  • Eye excluding cataracts
  • Pain management
  • Gynaecology
  • Lung and chest
$79.88
per month
Basic Plus Hospital $750
Basic Plus$750 excess
  • Rehabilitation
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Dental surgery
  • Hernia and appendix
  • Eye excluding cataracts
  • Pain management
  • Gynaecology
  • Lung and chest
  • +6 other treatments covered
$82.21
per month
Frank Entry Hospital (Basic+)
Basic Plus$750 excess
  • Rehabilitation
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Dental surgery
  • Hernia and appendix
  • Eye excluding cataracts
  • Pain management
  • Gynaecology
  • Lung and chest
  • +5 other treatments covered
$82.48
per month
starter basic
Basic$750 excess
  • Rehabilitation
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Dental surgery
  • Hernia and appendix
  • Eye excluding cataracts
  • Pain management
  • Gynaecology
  • Lung and chest
$82.71
per month
  • Rehabilitation
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Dental surgery
  • Hernia and appendix
  • Eye excluding cataracts
  • Pain management
  • Gynaecology
  • Lung and chest
$82.78
per month
  • Rehabilitation
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Dental surgery
  • Hernia and appendix
  • Eye excluding cataracts
  • Pain management
  • Gynaecology
  • Lung and chest
$83.95
per month
  • Rehabilitation
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Dental surgery
  • Hernia and appendix
  • Eye excluding cataracts
  • Pain management
  • Gynaecology
  • Lung and chest
  • +8 other treatments covered
$84.51
per month
  • Rehabilitation
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Dental surgery
  • Hernia and appendix
  • Eye excluding cataracts
  • Pain management
  • Gynaecology
  • Lung and chest
  • +5 other treatments covered
$85.23
per month
starter basic
Basic$500 excess
  • Rehabilitation
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Dental surgery
  • Hernia and appendix
  • Eye excluding cataracts
  • Pain management
  • Gynaecology
  • Lung and chest
$85.76
per month
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Finder survey: How many Australians of different ages worry that Medicare will not be enough?

Response75+ yrs65-74 yrs55-64 yrs45-54 yrs35-44 yrs25-34 yrs18-24 yrs
Yes36.36%41.28%52.17%45.56%65.41%56.84%49.41%
No34.09%34.88%29.81%31.36%15.14%17.37%29.41%
Not sure29.55%23.84%18.01%23.08%19.46%25.79%21.18%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1006 Australians, December 2023

Best Health Insurance - Basic Hospital

HBF health insurance

HBF - Basic Hospital Plus Elevate

HBF's Basic Hospital Plus Elevate policy won the 2024 Finder Awards for best basic hospital policy. These awards compared all eligible basic hospital policies on the market. It won based on value for money, meaning policies that covered more treatments in a private hospital for a lower premium scored higher.

Health insurance methodology

Highly commended

Bupa health insurance

Bupa - Basic Plus Starter Hospital

Bupa's Basic Plus Starter Hospital policy came in second place for our basic category. It costs around $19 per week and covers treatments including tonsils, adenoids and grommets, joint reconstructions and miscarriage and termination of pregnancy.

Frank health insurance

Frank - Entry Hospital (Basic+)

Frank's Entry Hospital Plus policy came in third place for our basic category. It costs around $20 per week and covers treatments including dental surgery, tonsils, adenoids and grommets, joint reconstructions, hernia and appendix, and gynaecology.

What are the hospital health insurance tiers?

Each of the different health insurance tiers has to cover a standardised set of treatments. Here's a quick summary of each tier.
Gold hospital cover icon

Gold hospital cover

Gold-tier hospital insurance covers all 38 treatments outlined by the Australian government. This includes treatments like joint replacements, pregnancy and insulin pumps, as well as all services covered by Silver-tier policies.

Average premium: $219.35 a month for a single policy.
Lowest premium: $162.44 a month for a single policy.
Silver hospital cover icon

Silver hospital cover

Silver-tier hospital insurance covers at least 26 treatments outlined by the Australian government. This includes treatments like dental surgery, lung and chest, and podiatric surgery, as well as all services covered by Bronze-tier policies.

Average cost: $148.21 a month for a single policy.
Lowest premium: $102.50 a month for a single policy.
Bronze hospital cover icon

Bronze hospital cover

Bronze-tier hospital insurance covers at least 18 treatments outlined by the Australian government. This includes treatments like joint reconstructions, gynaecology, and ear, nose and throat, as well as all services covered by Basic-tier policies.
Average cost: $98.73 a month for a single policy.
Lowest premium: $86.34 a month for a single policy.
Basic hospital cover icon

Basic hospital cover

Basic-tier hospital insurance isn't required to fully cover any treatments outlined by the Australian government, but it does need to have restricted cover for rehabilitation, hospital psychiatric services and palliative care. Generally, Basic cover is primarily used to avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge and Lifetime Health Cover loading.

Average cost: $84.13 a month for a single policy.
Lowest premium: $76.90 a month for a single policy.

*Average prices updated March 2024, in line with Finder's database of health insurance policies. Prices are based on a single individual with less than $93,000 income and living in Sydney with a $750 excess.

What is Basic cover good for?

Rich person icon

Avoiding tax

If you earn more than $90,000, you'll be subject to the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) on your income tax. The MLS is a tax of up to 1.5%, and can quickly get into the thousands of dollars. Having a hospital health insurance policy is the only way to be exempt from the MLS. Fortunately, the cost of a Basic-tier policy can sometimes be less than the amount the MLS would cost you, meaning that getting a Basic policy would actually save you money.

Woman icon

Avoiding the LHC

Getting Basic health insurance will help you avoid the Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading, which can make health insurance more expensive after a certain age. For every year you don't have hospital coverage after your 31st birthday, the LHC will add 2% onto the cost of a health insurance policy if you decide to get cover later. This only caps out after 35 years, at 70%.

If you never get hospital cover in your whole life, you'll never need to pay the LHC. However, if you think you might want hospital cover eventually, getting a Basic policy now can prevent you from ever being charged the LHC.

Ambulance cover

While Basic policies don't offer cover for many treatments, they often include ambulance cover, which can be very useful if you need ambulance transportation – even to a public hospital. Not all hospital policies automatically include ambulance, so you'll need to check the product details.

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Basic hospital insurance: Frequently asked questions

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