Find the perfect cover for your needs to get the best value from your health insurance.
Whether it's your first policy, or you're looking to switch - there are plenty of singles health insurance options.
You can choose from a Hospital Cover (in-hospital treatment and hospital costs), Extras Cover (such as the dentist or physio), or you can get a package that includes both.
See your options side by side from 30+ Australian health funds from basic to top.
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A singles policy that meets your specific needs is what makes it the best. However, there are some general features you may want to check:
- Does the policy have exclusions or benefit restrictions on treatments and services?
- Does the policy have Access Gap cover to help reduce or eliminate out-of-pocket expenses?
- Does the policy add value with member discounts and incentives for signing up?
- Does the policy allow you to claim government rebates and avoid government penalties?
No matter your life stage, the right kind of health cover you need depends on your general health, your lifestyle, your income and your personal preferences. Some examples include the following:
- If you play contact sports or extreme sports, such as skiing or parasailing, your risk of injury will be higher. In this case, you may be able to claim for accident treatment with hospital cover and physical therapies with extras cover.
- If you have a physical condition such as poor eyesight or bad teeth, extras cover will be much more valuable to you. Depending on your level of cover, you may be able to claim for major dental procedures and eye therapy.
- If you are a full-time student under 25, you may already be covered if your parents have a family health insurance policy in place.
- Don't be afraid to switch. If you find a better policy with another health fund, don’t be afraid to switch. In many cases, you can transfer your benefits and any waiting periods served to your new fund.
- Know what the excess is. Avoid policies that have both an excess and a co-payment, or you could be made to pay a lump sum on admission to hospital and then a further sum for every day you’re there.
- Know what the gap is. Try and join a health fund with Access Gap cover, and check that your practitioner participates in it prior to treatment. Access Gap cover reduces, or in some cases, removes any out-of-pocket expenses you may incur.
- Don’t choose based on price alone. With health insurance for singles, you generally get the cover you pay for, so if it’s noticeably cheaper than other policies, chances are it doesn’t cover you to the same extent.
- Read the product disclosure statement (PDS). This outlines the terms, conditions and any exclusions that apply to your policy. If you don’t read the fine print, you may get a nasty surprise later on if you ever need to make a claim.
Out of the two types of health insurance available, young people tend to lean more towards extras cover, which provides a more immediate return on investment by allowing them to claim for optical, dental and physio fees, which aren't covered by Medicare.
On the other hand, young singles often view hospital cover as a waste of money since they feel it's unlikely they'll require any hospital treatment until later in life. However, the statistics below tell a different story:
Some people choose to pair a cheap basic hospital policy with a higher level of extras cover. That way they are covered in the event of accidental injury and also for the commonly used out-of-hospital services mentioned above.
In addition to the benefits outlined above, there are some other incentives for taking out cover that some singles may not be aware of. The benefits of getting the best* health insurance for singles earlier rather than later include the following:
- Lifetime health cover loading. This is a 2% loading for every year you don’t have private hospital cover after turning 31. If you don't take out cover before then, your health insurance costs will start to rise.
- Medicare levy surcharge. If you're a single earning over $90,000 p.a., the government will charge you an extra 1% in tax if you don’t have hospital cover, 1.25% if you earn over $105,000 p.a. and 1.5% over $140,000 p.a.
- Government rebate. If you earn less than the threshold amount, you will receive a rebate for having private cover, either in the form of a premium discount from your fund or as a tax rebate.
Why do the young and single need health cover?
One common choice young Australians make when looking for cover is to opt for the cheapest policy available, which invariably is an extras-only policy. While the young and single may not be as susceptible to illness as the very young or old, they are susceptible (like everyone) to injury ... and maybe even more accident-prone.
Those aged between 15 to 34 make up a bulk of the hospital admissions into emergency departments each year. According to a study conducted by the Australian Institute of Health & Welfare (AIHW), in 2014-15 Australians in this age bracket accounted for 2,045,943 visits to the emergency room. Of that 1,031,769 were aged 15-24 and 1,014,174 were aged 25-34. That means the young accounted for almost 28% of all emergency department admissions.
What should you be looking for in a singles policy?
There are a number of reasons why you should take out private health cover you're young and find the best health insurance for young singles.
It’s important for all Australians to choose a policy that is suited to their life stage. So if you’re a young and healthy single with no medical concerns, you may want to choose a policy that provides cover for the services you need and excludes the service you don’t use.
However, settling on these benefits is not always easy. As the AIHW statistics showed, more than 2.04 million Australians between the ages of 15-34 needed treatment in an emergency room in 2014/15. This means these people may have been able to benefit from having cover for emergency ambulance transport and treatment after the accident. But how else can young singles benefit from having health insurance?
The main advantages of singles hospital insurance over the public system are that:
- You have the choice of your own doctor
- You can stay in a private room
- You don't have to join a public waiting list for an elective surgery
If you're happy to rely on the public hospital system but still want access to extras such as optical and physio, an ancillary (extras) policy may be the better option for you. Extras policies can be taken out for under $10 a week and can provide you with access to a range of extras including:
- Gym membership subsidies
- Swimming lessons and training
- Remedial massage
There are a range of broader health programs available and these benefits differ from fund to fund, so make sure you review the policy before making a decision to make sure you're getting the most out of your cover.
Getting off your parents' policy
There are several reasons why you might have to leave your parents' health fund including:
- Turned 25? Once you've turned 25 you will no longer be able to be listed as a dependant on your parents' policy.
- Finished studying? If you've graduated from your full-time studies, depending on the policy, you may no longer be able to be covered by your parents' health insurance. Some funds offer cover to adult dependants (as opposed to student dependants) up until the age of 25.
- Got a full time job? If you've found yourself full-time employment you may no longer be able to be covered by your parents policy if you're over 25 and no longer living at home.
- Got married? To be classified as a child, student or adult dependant with most health funds you need to be unmarried.
Unfortunately, they can't. In the past, single parents were forced to get cover under a family policy, which meant they would pay double what a single would pay on only one income. Happily, changes to government legislation in 2007 enabled health funds to offer premium reductions to single parents, making health insurance more accessible.
Be aware that the size of the reduction is up to the health fund (one might offer 10% and another 25%), so be sure to shop around to find out which ones are offering the highest discount. If you're a single parent who took out cover prior to 2007, make sure to check that you are receiving a reduction and if not, consider switching to another fund.
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* The offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of products finder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your personal financial circumstances when comparing products.
Picture: Lucas Lenzi, Alexis Brown - Unsplash