Figuring out the ins and outs of private health insurance can feel like you’re trying to find your way through a complicated maze. There’s a whole lot to consider – different health funds, multiple levels of hospital and extras policies and countless providers. It’s enough to make your head spin! But, don’t worry just yet.
Securing the right health insurance policy means you’ll have the peace of mind you need and a safety net for those unexpected health hiccups. Plus, it can save you from paying extra taxes like the Medicare Levy Surcharge or the Lifetime Health Cover Loading (if you’re a single who’s about to turn 31).
From basic private hospital cover to bronze hospital cover options, to extras cover and beyond, we’ll break down all those tricky terms and point out what really matters when choosing the best (and cheapest) policy for you.
What is Singles Health Insurance Cover?
Health insurance for singles is a type of policy that provides coverage for just one person. It’s different from policies meant for couples, single parents, or families, which cover multiple individuals under a single plan.
The main advantage of a singles policy is that it can be customised to meet the specific needs of the individual. Unlike policies for couples, single parents, or families, where everyone is covered for the same things, a singles policy allows you to pick the coverage that suits your personal healthcare needs.
If you’re in a relationship or partnership, you also have the option of getting two separate singles health insurance policies. This way, each person can have a plan that’s tailored to their unique needs and desired level of coverage. It’s a way to ensure that both individuals get the most suitable health insurance for their own situations.
What are the Different Types of Singles Health Insurance Policies?
In Australia, health insurance comes in three main types:
- Hospital cover: This type of insurance allows you to receive treatment as a private patient in either a private or public hospital. It is categorised into four main tiers: Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Basic hospital cover.
- Extras cover: Extras cover helps with the cost of various health services beyond hospital treatments. These services are often called ‘general’ services and include things like dental care, physiotherapy, podiatry, mental health services, chiropractic services, and optical (glasses).
- Combined hospital and extras cover: This comprehensive option includes both hospital cover and extras cover in a single policy. It also typically includes emergency ambulance cover, providing a more complete health insurance package.
Singles Health Insurance Premiums
The price you pay for your singles health insurance will be determined by your unique situation and the type of coverage you need. As you age, the cost of hospital cover usually goes up, but extras cover may not necessarily increase with age.
Several factors influence the cost of health insurance for singles:
- Age: Younger individuals typically pay less, while older individuals might have higher premiums for hospital cover.
- Location: Where you live in Australia caan impact the cost of health insurance.
- Health Insurance Provider: Different insurers may offer varying prices for similar coverage.
- Hospital Cover Tier Level: The level of hospital cover you choose (Gold, Silver, Bronze, or Basic) affects the cost.
- Extras Coverage: The cost of extras cover will depend on the specific policy and provider you select.
- Health Insurance Excess: The amount of excess you agree to pay when making a claim can influence your premium. Higher excess often means lower premiums.
Based on our research, you’ll pay anywhere from $96 (basic hospital)-$128 (silver+ hospital cover) per month for singles health insurance.
How to Choose the Best Health Insurance for Singles
When searching for the best health insurance for singles that fits your needs, it’s crucial to consider your personal requirements while comparing different policies. Alongside your life stage, take into account the following questions:
- What level of hospital cover do you prefer? (Gold, Silver, Bronze, or Basic)
- Are you interested in extras cover? If so, which specific services do you want to be covered?
- Do you have any pre-existing conditions that insurers should know about?
- What is your budget for premiums and the excess you might choose to pay?
While costs are significant, it’s equally important to ensure that a policy provides the right level of coverage for you.
Cheaper policies may seem appealing, but they might offer less extensive coverage, and certain exclusions and restrictions may apply.
When comparing health policies, it’s essential to check for any coverage limitations and carefully read the terms and conditions before making a decision.
This way, you can be confident that the policy you choose truly meets your healthcare needs.
Do I Need Singles Health Insurance if I’m Young & Healthy?
If you’re young and thinking about getting private health insurance, it’s worth considering the advantages it offers over relying solely on Medicare.
Here are some benefits of having private health insurance:
- Avoiding Long Waitlists: With private insurance, you might be able to skip long waitlists for treatments in public hospitals.
- Choosing Your Doctor: You can select the doctor, surgeon, or specialist of your choice with private insurance.
- Rebates on Non-Medicare Covered Extras: Private health insurance may cover some extras like dental, optical, and physiotherapy services that are not covered by Medicare.
There are financial incentives to consider as well:
- No Lifetime Health Cover Loading: If you get a hospital policy before turning 31, you can avoid paying extra premiums later.
- No Medicare Levy Surcharge: If you earn above a certain income and don’t have private hospital cover, you may have to pay an additional tax, which can be avoided with private insurance.
- Discounts for Young People: Some health insurers offer discounts for young Australians aged 18 to 29.
- Government Rebates: You might qualify for a rebate if you earn less than a specific amount.
Can You Just Stay on Your Family Policy?
You should also think about staying on your parents’ health insurance policy if possible, as it might be more cost-effective. However, it’s essential to check with the health fund to see if they offer this option.
On the other hand, there are some drawbacks to consider:
- Overall Cost: Private health insurance can be expensive, and premiums often increase each year.
- Out-of-Pocket Costs: Your policy might not cover the full cost of a treatment, leaving you with out-of-pocket expenses.
- Excluded Treatments: Some treatments or services may not be covered, or they might have restrictions.
If you’re comfortable being treated as a public patient in a public hospital and don’t expect to use extras services frequently, you may decide that private health insurance isn’t necessary for you at the moment.
What are annual limits and how do they affect my singles health insurance?
Annual limits are the maximum amounts an insurance provider will pay for a particular service or treatment in a calendar year. Depending on your policy and provider, these can apply to extras cover like dental services, physio, and more. Once you reach your annual limit for a service, you’ll have to cover the costs yourself until the next year when the limits reset.
How does the Australian government incentivize taking private health insurance?
The Australian government encourages individuals to take up private health insurance through the private health insurance rebate, which can lower your premium. You might also avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge at tax time if your income is above a certain threshold and you hold eligible private hospital insurance.
How is hospital insurance different from extras cover?
Hospital insurance covers you when you’re admitted to hospital, paying benefits towards the cost of your in-hospital treatment, accommodation, and more. Extras cover, on the other hand, covers services not generally covered by Medicare such as physiotherapy, dental, and optical treatments.
What does ‘basic plus’, ‘bronze plus’, and ‘silver hospital’ cover mean?
These terms refer to the different levels of hospital insurance cover. ‘Basic Plus’, ‘Bronze Plus’, and ‘Silver Hospital’ are different tiers, each offering a different level of cover. The ‘Plus’ tiers provide additional coverage over the standard tiers, allowing insurance providers to offer more services than the standard ‘Basic’ or ‘Bronze’ tiers.
What is LHC loading and how does it impact me?
LHC or Lifetime Health Cover loading is an Australian government initiative designed to encourage people to take out hospital cover earlier in life and maintain their cover. If you don’t have hospital cover by the 1st July following your 31st birthday and decide to get it later, you’ll pay a 2% loading on top of your premium for each year you were without cover.
What does ‘basic cover’ include?
‘Basic cover’ is the lowest level of hospital cover and typically covers fewer services than higher tiers. However, under Australian Government reforms, all ‘Basic’ policies are required to cover treatment for a few specific services like rehabilitation, hospital psychiatric services, and palliative care – but restrictions apply. Always review the policy details or check with your provider to understand what’s covered.
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