Can I get health insurance with no waiting period?
No for hospital
You can't skip waiting periods for hospital treatment in a private hospital. You will always need to have hospital insurance for at least 2 months before you can claim or 12 months if you need treatment for a pre-existing condition.
Yes for extras
Some extras insurance policies let you skip waiting periods for general dental, optical, physio and more. Remember, extras refers to out-of-hospital treatment only.
Can I get hospital insurance with no waiting period?
Hospital insurance always has a waiting period of at least 2 months. This is the same for all insurers. They need to adhere to the guidelines set out by the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman. the only exception to this is when you're switching funds - served waiting periods will transfer over.
Pregnancy: 12 months
All childbirth and pregnancy services come with a 12-month waiting period before you can claim on health insurance.
Pre-existing conditions: 12 months
You will need to wait 12 months if the medical issue you need treatment for is considered a pre-existing condition. For example, if you tear a ligament, then you take out health insurance, you will need to wait 12 months for surgery. There will generally be medical records showing if you had your illness or injury before you took out insurance.
Psychiatric care, rehabilitation and palliative care: 2 months
When you take out hospital insurance, you will need to pay for cover for 2 months before you are covered. Health insurers are not allowed to waive hospital waiting periods.
If you're switching to a similar level of health insurance cover, you won't have to re-serve any waiting periods for treatment you were previously covered for. For example, if both your new and previous policy covered joint reconstructions, you will be covered straight away.
Can I get extras insurance with no waiting period?
Yes. You can skip general dental waiting periods with some of ahm's policies. These are the only policies to permanently offers this benefit. We looked at all health insurance policies on the market.
All come with the following perks:
You get to skip 2 and 6 month waiting periods for general dental as well as optical, psychology, pharmacy and remedial massages.
You get up to 2 free dental checkups per year – just make sure you use one of ahm's partner dentists.
You also get 100% back on optical – this includes frames, prescription lenses and contact lenses.
We arranged our top picks from the least to the most comprehensive.
Top pick: Core extras
from $56.20 /month
Cover for 11 extras treatments
+7 other treatments covered
Top pick: Medium extras
from $60.77 /month
Cover for 13 extras treatments
+8 other treatments covered
Top pick: Top extras
from $90.85 /month
Cover for 13 extras treatments
+8 other treatments covered
We picked these policies because they were the only eligible† extras policies on the market that offered zero waiting periods for general dental and optical (without a special offer). We arranged them from the least to the most comprehensive.
To be eligible, policies needed to be available to purchase in July 2022 from a non-restricted provider with at least a 0.5% national market share.
Quotes are based on a single individual with less than $90,000 income, $750 excess and living in Sydney.
Why compare health insurance with Finder?
We don't ask for your phone or email to see prices.
With 1 click, you can open your results to nearly every fund in Australia.
You pay the same price as going direct – we charge no fees.
Compare prices from 30+ Aussie funds in under 30 seconds.
Health insurance sign-up deals
You'll often see health funds offer sign-up deals that let you skip 2- and 6-month waiting periods, typically for extras only. Here is the list of all sign-up deals currently offered by Finder health insurance partners. Not every deal below offers zero waiting periods for extras, so you'll need to check the details.
Why you can trust Finder's health insurance experts
Our health insurance engine is completely free to use. You pay the same as buying directly from the health insurer. Better still, we regularly run exclusive deals that you won't find on any other site.
Unlike other comparison sites, we're not owned by an insurer. That means our opinions are our own and you can compare nearly every health fund in Australia on the site (and find a better deal).
We're here to help
Since 2014, we've helped 350,000+ people find health insurance by explaining your options simply. We'll never ask for your number or email to see prices. We're here to help you make a decision.
Frequently asked questions about no waiting periods
Yes, there are 2 cases in which health insurers sometimes waive waiting periods:
If you already have a hospital policy and you're switching to a similar level of cover with another fund.
As a sign-up incentive, some insurers let you skip waiting periods for extras treatments such as dental, chiro and optical.
You cannot typically use hospital insurance straight away. You will need to wait 2 months before you can claim. If you're seeking treatment related to a pre-existing condition, you will need to wait 12 months. However, some extras (out of hospital) policies let you claim straight away.
Yes. Even if you switch funds halfway through a waiting period, you won't start from scratch for treatments you've already served. That means if you serve 6 months with 1 fund, you'll only have to serve 6 months with another in order to earn your 12-month waiting period.
If you have a small break in cover, you won't necessarily lose your served waiting periods. However, this break can usually only be a couple of weeks or months at most – after that, you'll have to serve the waiting periods again.
Gary Ross Hunter is an editor at Finder, specialising in insurance. He’s been writing about life, travel, home, car, pet and health insurance for over 6 years and regularly appears as an insurance expert in publications including The Sydney Morning Herald, news.com.au, The Telegraph, Explore Travel and Escape. Gary holds a Kaplan Tier 1 General Insurance (General Advice) certification and a Kaplan Tier 1 Generic Knowledge certification which meets the requirements of ASIC Regulatory Guide 146 (RG146).
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