Have you recently gone de facto or entered married life? You might be considering a couples health insurance policy.
What’s so special about couple-specific health insurance policies? Basically, they’re designed to provide private hospital cover and/or extras cover for both individuals in a relationship.
It works in a similar way to singles policies:
- Type of cover – Just like an individual policy, you can take out couple-specific health insurance for hospital, ambulance, and extras cover.
- One policy and one premium – Instead of juggling two policies and two premiums, you and your partner will share the same policy with the same health fund.
- Combined limits – Combined limits may come in handy. For example, if you use a lot of extras benefits but your partner doesn’t, a combined limit may work in your favour.
- Same level of cover – You and your partner are covered at the same level for everything. This may be okay for some couples, but if you and your partner have differing health needs, separate policies might be the smarter choice.
Are There Any Costs Savings to Combined Health Insurance?
Couple-specific health insurance policies don’t always mean cheaper rates, but they can bring other perks to the table, like some pretty decent savings when you take the Private Health Insurance Rebate into account.
Think about it this way: if one of you is making a lot more money than the other, jumping on a couple’s policy could score you both a bigger rebate than what you’d save with two individual policies.
How Long Do You Need to Be a Couple to Join Policies?
Ready to jump onto a couple’s policy? As long as you’re married, in a registered partnership, or just living together, you’re good to go. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been together for 10 years, 10 months or 10 days.
But just remember, you don’t need to be on a couple’s policy just because you’re living together or married. Yet, keep in mind that couple/family income thresholds still apply to stuff like the Private Health Insurance Rebate and the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS).
Couple’s Cover – Managing Costs Together
Understanding the factors that could impact your couple’s cover is crucial in effectively planning ahead, adjusting your cover, and managing your expenses.
- Lifetime Health Cover (LHC): Typically, if you fail to secure private hospital insurance before turning 31, you’re required to pay the Lifetime Health Cover loading. If either or both partners are subjected to this loading, the loading percentage will be averaged across your couple’s policy. As an example, if one partner has an 8% loading and the other has a 2% loading, the couple’s policy will reflect a 5% loading.
- Private Health Insurance Rebate: The amount of rebate you receive will be determined by family income thresholds instead of individual ones. Note that with each additional child after your first, the income thresholds in each tier increase by $1,500.
- Separation: If your relationship with your partner ends, you will naturally no longer be eligible for a couple’s policy. Under such circumstances, it’s recommended to switch to individual policies.
- Excess: Similar to individual policies, opting for a higher excess typically results in lower premiums. This approach allows you to balance immediate out-of-pocket costs with longer-term savings.
Everything Else You Should Know About Couple’s Health Insurance
Level of Cover
A central consideration when choosing a couples health insurance policy is the level of cover. From Bronze Hospital to Silver Plus to Gold Hospital cover, Australia offers different levels of hospital cover.
Your choice largely depends on the health needs of both partners, whether that includes physiotherapy, chiropractic therapies, or even more comprehensive hospital services like joint replacements or obstetrics.
Lifetime Health Cover Loading (LHC Loading)
Understanding LHC loading is crucial when considering couples health insurance. The Australian Government’s Lifetime Health Cover initiative encourages Australians to take out hospital cover earlier in life and maintain their cover. If you don’t have hospital cover from July 1 following your 31st birthday, you may pay LHC loading on top of your premium.
Couples Health Insurance vs Singles Policies
Often, couples health insurance policies in Australia offer more value compared to two individual policies or singles health insurance. Couples policies, or even family policies, may provide a higher level of cover at a discounted rate, addressing a wider range of health needs.
Extras cover can be a valuable addition to your couples health insurance. It can cover services like physio, dental, and other therapies that are not covered under Medicare. Be aware of annual limits and waiting periods that apply to different types of extras cover.
Government Rebate and Medicare Levy Surcharge
Don’t forget about the Australian government rebate on private health insurance, which lowers the cost of a hospital policy. If you’re eligible, the rebate could be claimed through reduced insurance premiums or through the ATO at tax time. It’s also worth considering the Medicare Levy Surcharge when deciding the type of cover for your health insurance policy.
Switching to Family Cover
If you’re planning on adding a mini-me to your family, it’s time to think about upping your insurance game. You’re going to want to include the little ones and bump up your cover before you’re pregnant. The key here is planning ahead because, let’s be honest, no one likes waiting, especially when it comes to maternity, pregnancy, assisted-reproductive and obstetrics-related cover.
So, make sure you check your health fund’s fine print. Check out their wait times and make sure you’ve got the necessary services covered for your pre and post baby days. And don’t forget the baby itself! Some health funds have strict timeframes for adding your baby to your policy. For instance, you might have a two-year window to add your newborn without any extra cost. But if you miss this window, your premiums could go up. Some funds might even ask you to switch to a family policy (and a higher premium), no matter when you add your little one.
What is the benefit of couples health insurance in Australia?
Couples health insurance provides peace of mind, knowing that both you and your partner’s health needs are covered. It can often provide better value compared to two individual policies, especially when you factor in the Australian government rebate.
Should we get hospital cover?
Having hospital cover as part of your couples health insurance gives you peace of mind. In the case of emergency ambulance needs or any unexpected hospital treatment, a suitable level of hospital cover ensures that you’re well taken care of. It’s about providing for your partner’s health needs as well as your own, making it a sound investment for all Australian couples.
What factors should I consider when choosing a level of cover?
Consider the health needs of both partners, your financial situation, potential waiting periods for certain hospital services, and the impact of the Lifetime Health Cover loading and the Medicare Levy Surcharge.
Does couple’s health insurance extend to same-sex relationships?
Yes! If you’re in a same-sex relationship, you’re eligible for couple’s cover based on the same eligibility criteria as opposite-sex couples.
Find the Right Health Cover for You & Your Partner
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Simply use our free online tool below to get personalised health cover quotes from Australia’s leading health fund providers in minutes!