Student Health Insurance Australia

Student Health Insurance

If you're a student, you're probably looking for ways to conserve your cash. What you need to know about student health insurance.

Being a student these days can mean struggling to survive on a part-time job and doing without things you don’t think you can afford.

But if you’re not covered by your parents’ health insurance, the question is not so much can you afford health insurance, but can you afford not to have it?

This guide looks at the types of health insurance for students available and at ways to make it more affordable for those on a tight budget.

Can’t I just be a dependant on my parents’ health insurance?

When you’re 25 years old or younger, student health insurance is one of those expenses you might feel you can probably do without. Your mum and dad might feel differently and may insist that you have some level of private health insurance cover in place.

Happily, there are certain circumstances where you can be covered as a child or student dependant under your parents’ health insurance policy. You’ll typically need to be under the age of 25, not married or in a de facto relationship, and studying full-time in order to qualify for student health insurance.

However, the exact rules surrounding dependant eligibility differ between insurers, so let’s take a look at the policies of the insurance providers on the finder.com.au panel.

ahm health insurance for dependant

AHM offers student health insurance and cover for three types of dependants:

  • A child dependant. The child of a health fund member or their spouse, not married or in a de facto relationship, and who is under the age of 21.
  • A student dependants. The child of a health fund member or their spouse, not married or in a de facto relationship, at least 21 years old but has not yet turned 25, and who is undertaking full-time education.
  • An adult dependant. The child of a health fund member or their spouse, not married or in a de facto relationship, at least 21 years old but has not yet turned 25, and who is not a student dependant.

No excess payments apply to adult dependants, student dependants or child dependants on your policy.

Australian Unity health insurance for dependant

Under Australian Unity health insurance, a dependant is a child up to 23 years of age who is unmarried. However, children can be covered as student dependants up until they turn 25, as long as they are not married or in a de facto relationship, and they are attending a full-time course of study or undertaking an apprenticeship approved by Australian Unity.

GMHBA health insurance for dependant

Child dependents receive automatic cover under a family or single parent membership until they

turn 21 years of age regardless of their student or employment status. To remain on the membership as a student dependant following their 21st birthday, the child must be enrolled in an approved course of full-time study. Student dependants can then be covered until they reach 25 years of age.

HCF health insurance for dependant

HCF offers cover for the following three types of dependant:

  • Child dependant. A child dependant is someone who is less than 22 years of age and is the child of the policyholder or their partner. They must not be married or living in a de facto relationship, and they must be primarily reliant on the policyholder for financial support.
  • Student dependant. A student dependant is a person aged between 22 and 24 (inclusive) and who is a full-time student at school, college or university. They must not be married or living in a de facto relationship, they must be the child of the policyholder or their partner, and they must be primarily reliant on the policyholder for financial support.
  • Adult dependant. An adult dependant is a person aged between 22 and 24 (inclusive) who isn’t a student or child dependant. They must be the child of the policyholder or their partner and they must be primarily reliant on the policyholder for financial support.

nib health insurance for dependant

Children can be classified as dependant children until they reach 21 years of age. Once that happens, children aged from 21 and up to 25 years of age can be covered as a student dependant if they are undertaking full-time study and are properly registered with nib as a student dependant. Children aged from 21 and up to 25 years of age who are no longer studying can also remain on their parents’ cover as an adult dependant; however, an additional fee applies.

Transport Health cover for dependant

Unmarried children up to the age of 21 can be included as dependant children on your policy. Once your child turns 21, if he or she is studying full-time (in an approved apprenticeship or study course) they can receive cover as a student dependant until their 25th birthday.

In addition, children aged between 21 and 25 who are not studying can be covered as adult dependants. However, they must be unmarried and cannot be living in a de facto relationship.

Compare student cover online or with an adviser

Details Features
High 65 / 75 / 85% - $0/$250/$500 Excess
High 65 / 75 / 85% - $0/$250/$500 Excess
Combines High Hospital Cover with its highest level of extras cover.
  • Cover starting from $44.74 weekly
  • 12 month waiting period for pregnancy
  • 65% back on extras
  • Choice of $0, $250 and $500 excess
Enquire Now More info
Premier Package
Premier Package
Top tier combined hospital and extras policy that covers you for an extensive range of hospital and general treatment services.
  • All the benefits of HCI's Premier Hospital policy
  • All the benefits of HCI's Premier Extras policy
  • Cover for pregnancy and IVF treatment
  • Cover for general and major dental
Get Quote More info
Deluxe flexi
Deluxe flexi
Deluxe flexi provides cover for a range of treatments including hip replacement, spinal fusion, dialysis and major eye surgery.
  • No excess for kids
  • All joint replacements
  • Major eye surgery
  • Rehabilitation
Enquire Now More info
GoldStar
GoldStar
Premium hospital cover with complete cover for hospital expenses. Save 4% when you pay for 12 months of your cover upfront.
  • All theatre fees covered
  • Unlimited maternity cover
  • Choose no excess or $200, $400, $500 per admission
Get Quote More info
Smart Combination
Smart Combination
Smart combination provides a high level of cover for both hospital and extras.
  • Claim up to $2725 back on extras
  • Hip and knee replacements
  • General and major dental
  • Physio
Enquire Now More info
Prestige
Prestige
Highest level of combined cover offered by CBHS. Includes the same benefits as Comprehensive Hospital and Top Extras plus more. Restricted fund: Only current or former staff (and their families) of Commonwealth Bank Group and their subsidiaries which include Aussie, Bankwest, Colonial First State and more can join.
  • No excess or co-payments on hospital cover
  • Non-student dependent under 25 can be kept on policy
  • Access to Chronic Disease Management Programs
  • Widest range of extras including orthodontics
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Bronze Hospital (no pregnancy) and Bronze Extras Set Benefits
Bronze Hospital (no pregnancy) and Bronze Extras Set Benefits
High level of hospital cover and extras cover for a range of popular services including knee and should reconstructions.
  • Most comprehensive hospital options
  • Cover for general and major dental
  • Shared or single room in a private hospital
  • Intensive and coronary care
Enquire Now More info
Premium Hospital and Silver Extras Cover
Premium Hospital and Silver Extras Cover
Comprehensive hospital cover including pregnancy cover. Also included affordable mid-level extras cover for dental, optical and therapies.
  • Cover from $39.50 per week
  • Pregnancy and birth-related services cover
  • Heart surgery cover
  • 100% cash back on two dental check per year
Enquire Now More info
Top Hospital with Top Extras
Top Hospital with Top Extras
Get comprehensive hospital and extras cover and tailor your policy to your needs.
  • Pregnancy and birth services cover
  • Back surgery cover
  • $1000 general dental annual limit
  • $600 physiotherapy annual limit
Enquire Now More info
Young Couples Combined Cover
Young Couples Combined Cover
Mid-level hospital and basic level Extras package with an excess for young, healthy couples that are not quite ready to start a family.
  • Emergency ambulance cover
  • Cancer-related surgery cover
  • 70% back on extras
  • $300 dental annual limit per person
Enquire Now More info

You can see the full list of Australian health funds and how they define dependants at the end of this article.

Student Declarations Online

If you want your child to be covered under your health insurance policy as a student dependant, you will need to follow your insurer’s procedure for registering a dependant. Getting this job done before your child’s 21st birthday will ensure that they maintain a sufficient level of insurance protection in place at all times.

While the exact method for registering a student dependant varies between insurance providers, many health funds allow you to register a dependant online. This can typically be done by following a few simple steps, including:

  • Logging into your online health fund account
  • Clicking on the relevant tab or link to register a dependant
  • Changing the child’s membership from that of a child dependant to a student dependant
  • Declaring that the child is a full-time student for the current calendar year
  • Specifying the educational institution at which the student dependant is studying
  • Declaring that the student dependant does not earn more than a certain amount of annual income, for example $20,000

Once you’ve provided the relevant information and submitted your request, your health fund will change your child to a student dependant. Alternatively, you may wish to phone your health fund directly to take care of this task.

What cover do you need?

If you are a single full-time student aged between 21 and 25, you're classed as a ‘student dependant’ and can be covered by your parents’ health insurance until reach the age of 25 or you complete your studies. After that, you’re on your own and will need to take out your own private health cover.

If you are only a part-time student, are married or in a de facto relationship, then you too must take care of your own health insurance needs. What those needs are will depend on your general health, your income and the kinds of things you consider important to have cover for.

How to get the cheapest health insurance as a student

If you are a student, your income is possibly only coming from part-time work, so saving on the cost of your insurance is a high priority. Ways to do this could include:

  • Only taking out basic hospital cover (or none at all) and concentrating your ancillary cover around those extras you use regularly
  • Paying your insurance premiums annually in advance to avoid administration fees
  • Paying your premium before the rate rise in March each year to lock in the current rate for another year
  • Paying by direct debit, which can earn you a discount with many insurers
  • Opting for a higher excess in order to lower your premium
  • Joining a restricted membership fund if you are eligible (such as an industry or employer fund) to enjoy lower premiums and more generous benefits
  • Only paying for things you may need, such as emergency ambulance, and not for things that you probably won’t need yet, such as obstetrics and IVF.

What is the difference between the levels of health insurance?

Both hospital and extras have varying levels of cover and the level you choose will depend on your budget and your personal priorities. The four main levels of hospital cover are:

  • Top Private Hospital Cover. Top student health insurance hospital covers services where Medicare pays a benefit.
  • Medium Private Hospital Cover. Medium all services apart from one or more of the following: pregnancy and obstetrics, assisted reproductive services, cataract and lens procedures, joint replacements, dialysis and sterilisation.
  • Basic Private Hospital Cover. Basic student health insurance hospital cover provides protection for all services apart from one or more of the following: cardiac-related services, non-cosmetic plastic surgery, rehabilitation, psychiatric services and palliative care.
  • Public Hospital Cover. Public hospital cover treatment in a public hospital only.

The three main levels of extras cover are:

  • Comprehensive. Comprehensive insurance covers general and major dental, endodontic, orthodontic, optical, non-PBS pharmaceuticals, physio, podiatry and psychology.
  • Medium. Medium insurance covers general and major dental, endodontic and any five of the following: orthodontic, optical, non-PBS pharmaceuticals, physio, chiro, podiatry, psychology and hearing aids.
  • Basic. Basic insurance includes all other policies.

Most health funds offer packaged cover that includes both hospital and extras cover or allow you to mix and match your cover according to your needs. Always read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), as some policies may not cover all costs associated with your treatment.

I'm an international student coming to Australia, what do I need?

If you are a student from another country studying in Australia, you will need to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) while you are here. The only exceptions to this are if you are a Norwegian, Swedish or Belgian student, as these countries have their own schemes for overseas students or reciprocal health care agreements with Australia.

OSHC covers you, your spouse and any dependants for visits to a GP, some hospital treatments, ambulance and some pharmaceutical benefits up to a predetermined annual limit. It does not cover extras such as optical and dental, for which additional cover can be purchased.

OSHC is available for up to five years, after which it can be extended upon application. As with normal student health cover, waiting periods apply for pre-existing medical conditions and pregnancy-related services (12 months) and pre-existing psychiatric conditions (two months).

OSHC providers in Australia include Allianz Global Assistance, BUPA Australia, Medibank Private, NIB OSHC and Australian Health Management Group (AHM).

Traps to avoid when looking for cover as a student

When looking for health insurance as a student, there are certain pitfalls to avoid, just as there are when comparing any insurance policies.

  • Price isn't everything. Even though you may not want to spend a great deal on your student cover, never choose a policy on the basis of price alone. The main reason some policies are cheaper than others is because they don’t provide the same level of insurance.
  • Always read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). The benefit limits, exclusions and terms and conditions are all itemised in this document. Signing up without reading them could see you only partially covered or not covered at all on certain treatments and services.
  • Don’t just put your policy in a drawer and forget about it. Review it regularly, as a highly competitive insurance market means better deals are emerging all the time.

Tips for finding the right fund as a student

As well as avoiding the pitfalls, taking advantage of a little inside knowledge can help you find the best* student health insurance for your money.

  • Can you afford to change insurers? It’s much easier to do these days and all your benefits and entitlements travel with you to your new provider.
  • Can you increase the excess? An immediate and effective way to reduce your premium is to increase the amount of excess you pay. But don’t make it any higher than you can afford, given that you will have to come up with the money at fairly short notice.
  • Does the policy include ambulance cover? Look for policies that offer full ambulance cover, as many only offer emergency ambulance cover, which does not include non-urgent trips to the hospital for treatment.
  • What's the gap? Ensure that your provider has agreements with your hospital and ancillary service providers, or you could end up paying the difference yourself.

Private vs public – what’s right for students?

While having a private room and your own doctor might not be that important to you at this stage in your life, having to join a waiting list for elective surgery and pay your own dental and optical bills might be. Dental is the most claimed extras benefit in Australia and it can be one of the most expensive. The only circumstances in which dental is covered by Medicare is if it is performed to prevent disease or to protect someone’s health and even then, only in limited circumstances.

Medicare also doesn’t cover ambulance services, and as a trip to the hospital by ambulance can be extremely costly, it might also be worth taking out cover just for this.

At the end of the day, public and private health care each have their pros and cons and it’s not necessarily about choosing one over the other. Even with private student health insurance, you can choose to use public health for certain treatments and services. So perhaps the answer is to take advantage of both, in order to have access to the best possible health care you can afford.

Compare health insurance policies for students

Because the majority of students are in their physical prime, your health insurance choices may seem a little easier. If you don’t envisage spending a lot of time in hospital, other than due to an accident, it can be tempting to go light on hospital cover and look at getting more immediate help with your extras expenses. But ultimately, how much or how little private health insurance you opt for as a student will depend on your circumstances, your budget and the degree of risk you are prepared to take with your own health.

Compare your student health insurance options online

Am I covered by my parents health insurance?

TitleDependant conditions
  • Child dependant. ACA consider children dependent until the age of 21.
  • Student dependant. If your child is unmarried or in a nondefacto relationship while a full-time students earning less than $20,000 per year, they can remain covered on your family policy until they reach 25 years of age at no extra cost.
  • Adult dependant. If your child is between 21 and 25 years of age, not studying full-time and is unmarried, they are able to be covered for an additIonal 30% loading.
  • Child dependant. A child dependant is the child of the member who is not married or living in a de facto relationship and is under the age of 21.
  • Student dependant. A student dependant is a child who is unmarried, is over 21 but is under the age of 25, and engaged in full-time education.
  • Adult dependant. An adult dependant is a child who is unmarried, is over 21 but is under 25 years of age, and no undertaking full-time study.
  • Child dependant. A dependant is a child aged up to 23 years old who is unmarried.
  • Student dependant. A student dependant is able to be covered on your family policy until they reach 25 years of age. This is provided they aren't married and are enrolled in an approved course.
  • Child dependant. A dependent child means a person who does not have a partner and is under 21 or is engaged in full time study and under 25 years of age.
  • Adult dependent. A dependant child non-student is someone who is between the ages of 18 and 24 and isn't studying in a full-time capacity.
  • Child dependant. A child dependant is someone who is unmarried, aged under 18 and is a child, stepchild or Foster Child who lives with the policyholder.
  • Student dependant. A student dependant is at least 18 but under 25 years of age, unmarried and participating in full-time study.
  • Adult dependant. This is a non-student dependant who is a child of the a policyholder, unmarried and over the age of 18 but under the age of 25.
  • Child dependant. Child dependants are children or dependents under 21 years.
  • Student dependant. A student dependant is a child under the age of 25 and studying full-time.
  • Child dependant. Family policies provide cover for the policyholder any dependant children/young adults until their 23rd birthday.
  • Student dependant. Full-time student dependants are covered up until they turn 25. Student dependants must be registered each year from when they turn 23 years of age.
  • Dependent child. A child dependant is someone who is unmarried and under the age of 21.
  • Student dependant. A student dependant is someone who is between 21 and 24 years of age and enrolled in full-time study.
  • Adult dependant. This is a dependant child who is unmarried, not  enrolled in full-time study and is between 21 and 24 years of age.
  • Child dependant. Your children can be covered by your family membership up to the age of 21.
  • Student dependant. Your children can continue to be covered by the family's membership until the age of 24 .
  • Child dependant. Children are covered until they turn 21 years of age.
  • Student dependant. Student Dependants are covered until they turn 25 years of age, provided they are in full time study.
  • Child dependant. A child dependant is someone who is unmarried and under the age of 21.
  • Student dependant. A student dependant is someone who is aged between 18 and 25 years of age, enrolled in full-time studies and don't have a taxable income in excess of what is stipulated by HBF.
  • Adult dependant. Adult dependants are children who are under 25, unmarried, fully dependent on their parents and don't don't have a taxable income in excess of what is stipulated by HBF.
  • Child dependant. You can be covered as a child dependant until the age of 21if you're no longer a student.
  • Student dependant. You can be covered as a student dependant if you're engaged in full-time study and under 25 years of age.
  • Child dependant. A dependant child is someone who is unmarried or under 21 years of age.
  • Student dependant. Is a child aged between 21 and 24 years of age and studying full-time.
  • Child dependant. Children are covered at no extra cost until the end of the year they turn 18., unless they’re married or in a de facto relationship.
  • Student dependant. You can cover your child as a student dependant if they are unmarried, earning under amount specified by HBF, under 25 years of age and studying full-time.
  • Child dependant. Your children are automatically covered under your family cover until the day before they turn 22.
  • Student dependant. If your child is enrolled in full-time study they'll be covered at no extra cost until the day before they turn 25 or cease full time study (whichever comes first).
  • Child dependant. You're children are cover until they reach the age of 23 and remain unmarried.
  • Student dependant. Your child can be covered as a student dependant if they're financially dependant on the policyholder, aged between 23 and 25 and are enrolled in full-time study.
  • Adult dependant. Unmarried (includes those not in a defacto relationship) children between 23 years and 25 years of age can be covered on the Family Dependent Plus policy.
  • Child dependant. Child dependents are covered up until 21 years of age.
  • Student dependant. Your child can be covered as a student up until 24 years of age if they are engaged in full-time study.
  • Child dependant. A child dependant can be covered until they reach the age of 21.
  • Student dependant. Your children can be covered at no extra cost if they're aged between 21 and 25 years of age and enrolled in full-time study.
  • Child dependant. Children are covered until they reach 21 years of age.
  • Student dependant. A child who is enrolled in full-time study and aged between 21 and 25.
  • Child dependant. A child can stay on a policyholder's membership until they're 18 years of age, as long as they are unmarried.
  • Student dependant. A student dependant is a child who is unmarried, under 25 years of age and enrolled in full-time study.
  • Child dependant. A child can be covered at no extra cost until they turn 21.
  • Student dependant. A student dependant is a child who is under 25 years of age, unmarried and enrolled in full-time study.
  • Adult dependant. If your child isn't studying full-time, unmarried and aged between 21 and 24, you are able to cover your children for an additional premium with the families with adult children option.
  • Child dependant. Your single children remain covered until they reach 21 years of age.
  • Student dependant. Your children remain covered if they are full time students under 25 years of age.
  • Child dependant. Your children will remain covered if they're under 21 years of age.
  • Student dependant. Your child can be covered until 25 years of age if they're enrolled in full-time study.
  • Child dependant. A child can be covered if they are unmarried children and under 22 years of age.
  • Student dependant. Your child can be covered if they are engaged in full-time study, aged between 22 and 25 and unmarried.
  • Child dependant. Your children can be covered until they reach 21 years of age.
  • Student dependant. You're children are covered if they are unmarried, enrolled in full-time study and aged between 21 and 25 years of age.
  • Adult dependant. If your child is unmarried, aged between 21 and 25 and not enrolled in full-time study, you can cover them for an additional premium with the Extended Family Policy.
  • Child dependant. A child dependant is someone 21 years of age and unmarried.
  • Student dependant. A student dependant is someone under 25 years of age, unmarried and enrolled in full-time studies.
  • Child dependant. Your children are automatically covered under your family cover until the day before they turn 21.
  • Student dependant. Your child can be covered as a student if they're enrolled in full-time study, under 25 or cease full time study (whichever comes first).
  • Child dependant. A child dependent is someone who is unmarried and under the age of 21. 
  • Student dependant. A student dependant is a child that is unmarried, enrolled in full-time study and aged between 21 and 25.
  • Adult dependant. Children can be covered until the age of 25 with the Under Platinum Plus policy.
  • Child dependant. A child can remain covered under your family policy up to age 21 years.
  • Student dependant. A child can be covered as a student dependant if they are under 25 years of age, unmarried and enrolled in full-time study.
  • Adult dependant. Dependants aged between 21 and 25 can be covered with the Family Plus policy if they are unmarried.
  • Child dependant. A child can remain covered under your family policy up to age 21 years.
  • Student dependant. A child can be covered as a student dependant if they are under 25 years of age, unmarried and enrolled in full-time study.
  • Adult dependant. Dependants aged between 21 and 25 can be covered with the Premium Hospital cover.
  • Child dependant. Dependent children can be covered if they are unmarried and under the age of 21.
  • Student dependant. You child can be covered as a student dependant if they're under 25 years of age and enrolled in full-time study.
  • Child dependant. Children can remain on their parent’s policy if they're under 23 and not married.
  • Student dependant. A student dependant is someone who is enrolled in full-time study, fully dependant on their parents and under 25 years of age.
  • Child dependant. Children can remain on their parent’s policy if they're under 23 and not married.
  • Student dependant. A student dependant is someone who is enrolled in full-time study, fully dependant on their parents and under 25 years of age.
  • Adult dependant. You are able to get cover for your children aged between 21 and 25 who are not studying full-time with the Extended Family Cover.
  • Child dependant. A child dependant is someone under the age of 21.
  • Student dependant. A student dependant is aged between 21 and 25 and us enrolled in full-time study.
  • Child dependant. Your children can get covered if they're unmarried and under 21 years of age.
  • Student dependant. A student dependant is a child under 25 year of age, unmarried, earns less than $50,000 per year and is enrolled in full-time study.
  • Child dependant. Children are covered until they reach 18 years of age.
  • Student dependant. A student dependant is someone enrolled in full-time study and under the age of 25.
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