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Choosing private health insurance

It's not always easy to choose private health insurance cover that suits you and your family. There are lots of options so it's a good idea to work out what you need. These questions can help you decide what policy is right for you.

What to ask when you’re choosing health insurance

  • Do you already have health insurance?
  • What type of cover do you need?
  • Who do you need to cover and are they eligible for Medicare?
  • What's your budget?

If you already have health insurance

Think about what your current policy offers and whether your needs have changed. Waiting periods may apply to new or higher benefits.

What type of cover you need

You can choose to get private cover for:

  • hospital
  • general treatment cover, or ‘extras’
  • both

You might also want ambulance cover.

Think about whether you want cover for services you might need in the near future. For example, some policies exclude things like pregnancy and birth-related services.

Having certain cover might mean you avoid paying the Medicare levy surcharge.

See more about what private health insurance covers.

Decide who needs to be covered

Health insurers offer different policies for:

  • single people
  • couples
  • families — children are only covered until a specified age, although some insurers will extend that for full-time students
  • single parents

If you’re visiting or studying in Australia, you should consider private health cover to help you meet the cost of any medical services you need. Find out more about policies for overseas visitors.

Decide what you want to pay

Health insurers offer a range of policies to suit different budgets.

Generally the higher your premium, the more benefits you can claim. Think about whether you want to:

  • pay lower premiums and pay an excess or co-payment if you go to hospital, or
  • pay higher premiums and pay either no excess or no co-payment

Getting private health insurance might help you avoid Lifetime Health Cover loading.

Find and compare policies

By law, private health insurers in Australia must be registered to offer health insurance.

Compare cover using PrivateHealth.gov.au’s online policy comparison.

Review your cover regularly

Your circumstances could change at any time. You might:

  • earn more money and want to increase your cover
  • start a family and want to make sure you're covered for pregnancy and birth care
  • develop a serious health condition and need to include specific treatments
  • have children who are now adults and are no longer covered on your policy

Check your private health insurance when things change to make sure your policy suits your current needs.

Last updated: 
30 December 2019

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