What are restricted health funds?
Restricted health funds give you access to cheaper premiums and discounts based on the job you do.
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Restricted health funds provide health insurance to a specific group or industry of people, such as teachers, nurses and union members. In lots of cases, family members can join as well. Because they're only available to certain members of the public, they're often cheaper than standard health insurance policies and come with discounts.
Check out the list of restricted health funds below to see if you're eligible to join any.
List of restricted funds in Australia
The current restricted funds in Australia are:
- ACA Health Benefits Fund. ACA is open to Seventh-day Adventist Church employees.
- CBHS Health Fund Limited. CBHS is open to current and former employees of the Commonwealth Bank Group and their families.
- Defence Health Limited. Defence Health is open to current and former members of the ADF and defence community and their families.
- Doctors Health Fund. Doctors’ Health is open to doctors, health practitioners and their employees and families.
- Emergency Services Health. For current or former employees of eligible emergency services.
- Navy Health. Navy Health is open to employees and families of the Australian Defence Force and ADF contractors.
- Nurses & Midwives. For nurses or midwives that are members of eligible unions and their eligible family members.
- Police Health. Police Health is open to employees of the police department and their families.
- Railway and Transport Health Fund. Railway and Transport Health Fund (RTHealth) is open to transport and electricity employees and their families.
- Reserve Bank Health Society. The Reserve Bank Health Society (RBHS) is open to current and former employees of the Reserve Bank.
- Teachers Health Fund. Teachers Health is open to members of the education union and their families.
- TUH. TUH is open to current and former union members and their families.
What are the conditions for joining these funds?
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.
The pros and cons of a restricted health fund
Here's some of the advantages to joining a restricted health fund:
- They're run solely for the benefit of members. All profits are returned to the fund, usually in the form of cheaper premiums or better policies with more benefits.
- Terms and conditions are sometime more flexible. For example, with Navy Health, waiting period and pre-existing health condition rules are waived if you join within 90 days of being discharged from the ADF.
- Family members can join too. Restricted health funds are generally open to your family members as well.
Keep in mind though that:
- Because they're generally smaller, restricted health funds sometimes have a narrower range of policies.
- They may not have as many arrangements with Doctors and Allied Health professionals to reduce the gap for members.
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
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