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What are restricted funds?

How are restricted funds different from a standard health fund?

Most people are eligible to join a restricted fund of some kind, something that is not widely known. Being a former employee or having a family member who is a current employee in a particular industry may qualify you for membership, so it is worth investigating such links, as restricted funds can offer good value in the form of lower premiums and higher benefits.

There are two main types of health funds in Australia:

  • Open health funds. These are standard health funds such as Medibank, ahm and nib, which offer health cover to anyone and are run for profit, for the benefit of shareholders.
  • Restricted health funds. As their name suggests, these are funds where membership is restricted to certain people. They are usually operated by industry or employment groups and are not-for-profit, being run solely for the benefit of their members.
Unfortunately, finder.com.au doesn't currently have any restricted funds in its panel. To compare policies from providers in our panel, please head to the health insurance homepage.

What restricted funds exist in Australia?

The current restricted funds in Australia are:

  • Navy Health. Navy Health is open to employees and families of the Australian Defence Force and ADF contractors.
  • Railway and Transport Health Fund. Railway and Transport Health Fund (RTHealth) is open to transport and electricity employees and their families.
  • Doctors Health Fund. Doctors’ Health is open to doctors, health practitioners and their employees and families.
  • ACA Health Benefits Fund. ACA is open to Seventh-day Adventist Church employees.
  • Teachers Health Fund. Teachers Health is open to members of the education union and their families.
  • Defence Health Limited. Defence Health is open to current and former members of the ADF and defence community and their families.
  • Police Health. Police Health is open to employees of the police department and their families.
  • Reserve Bank Health Society. The Reserve Bank Health Society (RBHS) is open to current and former employees of the Reserve Bank.
  • CBHS Health Fund Limited. CBHS is open to current and former employees of the Commonwealth Bank Group and their families.
  • TUH. TUH is open to current and former union members and their families.

What are the conditions for joining these funds?

 Fund ConditionsMore info
  • Restricted: Open to members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and present and past employees of affiliated companies, along with the partners/spouses, dependents, siblings, parents and grandchildren of those mentioned previously.
More info
  • Restricted: Open to employees, contractors and franchisees of Commonwealth Bank of Australia Group as well as their partners and family members, including dependent and non-dependent children, siblings, parents and grandchildren.
More info
  • Restricted: Open to reservists and past members* of the Australian Defence Force, employees of the Department of Defence and Defence suppliers. Extended family as well as the ex-partner/spouse of those previously mentioned are also eligible to join.
More info
  • Restricted: Open to current and former members, reservists and cadets of the ADF, employees of the DoD, Defence suppliers and more. Extended family as well as the ex-partner/spouse of those previously mentioned are also eligible to join.
More info
  • Restricted: Open to registered Medical Practitioners and Health Practitioners (in an eligible category), their employees, extended family and much more. The eligibility criteria for this fund is wide and you can view the full list via the More Info button.
More info
  • Restricted: Open to current or former (if retired or resigned after 1 Jan 2001) employees of state, territory and federal police departments/police unions including their partners/spouses, dependants and adult children plus their immediate family.
More info
  • Restricted: Open to current or former employees of Government or privately owned transport (air, sea, land) and energy generation/delivery entities, as well as those involved in administering them. Extended family of eligible members can also join.
More info
  • Restricted: Open to current or former employees of the Reserve Bank of Australia and Note Printing Australia, as well as their current or ex-partner or spouse and their dependant or adult children.
More info
  • Restricted: Open to current or former members and administrative staff of approved education unions and organisations, along with their extended family. Use the More Info button to the right to view the eligible unions and organisations.
More info
  • Restricted: Open to current or former union members of any industry along with their current or ex partner/spouse, dependent children, adult children (plus their partner), siblings (plus their partners and dependent children), parents and grandchildren.
 More info

What are the benefits?

There are several advantages to joining a restricted health fund. The main one is that, because they are run solely for the benefit of members, all profits are returned to the fund in the form of lower premiums and better policies with greater benefits.

Terms and conditions may also be more flexible with restricted fund memberships, such as in the case of Navy Health, where waiting period and pre-existing health condition rules are waived if you join within 90 days of being discharged from the ADF.

Not-for-profit funds also tend to return a higher percentage of premiums to their members compared to open health funds, so if you think you may be eligible to join such a fund, it may be well worth your while to investigate further.

Final things you might want to know

Some points to bear in mind when comparing restricted and open funds:

  • Most restricted funds are open to family members, but this may be limited to immediate family (spouse and dependent children)
  • Previous employment in an industry can encompass a number of years (you may still be eligible to join restricted funds, even though you have not worked in an industry for some time)
  • Belonging to a restricted health fund may also give you access to other member only benefits such as industry super and life insurance
  • Price should not be the only consideration when looking at restricted funds. It is also important to ensure that the level of cover being offered is adequate for your needs

Compare policies from health funds in the finder.com.au panel

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