Life as a single parent comes with its unique challenges and joys. With the responsibility of raising kids, it’s crucial to have the right private health insurance to ensure you and your family are covered when it matters most.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through essential considerations when looking for health insurance as a single parent, from waiting periods and eligibility to special perks for children. Plus, we’ll explore the different tiers of health insurance available in Australia to help you make an informed decision. Remember, finding the right health cover for your family can provide invaluable peace of mind, so let’s get started on this journey together.
Single Parent Health Insurance – The Unfair Gap
Health insurance can be confusing, especially for single-parent families. It seems unfair that single parents often have to pay more for their kids’ health cover compared to two-parent families. On top of that, single parents might also have higher overall insurance costs than singles without kids.
So, if you’re a single parent, it’s essential to take the time to compare different health insurance policies to find the best options for you and your family.
But don’t worry, there’s some good news too. Some insurance companies offer special benefits for kids, whether their parents are single or in a couple. For example:
- No excess or co-payments for children if they need to go to hospital
- Free extras services for children (if they go to the dentist, for example)
- Extended coverage for full-time students on your family policy up to age 31 (an extra cost may apply for other young adults)
If you want to know more about the perks available for children and find the best health insurance for your family, we’re here to help. Let’s make family health insurance cover easy for you and your kids.
The Four Tiers of Health Insurance in Australia
In Australia health insurance policies are categorised into four tiers:
- Basic – very little cover in a private hospital
- Bronze – low cover
- Silver – medium cover
- Gold – full or top cover.
Apart from the main tiers of health insurance (Basic, Bronze, Silver, and Gold), there are additional policy options available: Silver Plus, Bronze Plus, and Basic Plus. These “Plus” policies provide more coverage than the regular Silver, Bronze, or Basic plans. For instance, a Silver Plus policy might include services like pregnancy or cataract surgery, which are typically covered only under Gold policies. It’s a way to get extra benefits without jumping all the way to the top tier.
Hospital Insurance, Extras Cover Only or Hospital & Extras
You also have the choice of different cover options depending on your health care needs. You can choose from three types of policies:
Most single-parent families opt for combined hospital and extras cover because it’s’ certainly the best value cover on the market.
What You’re Covered for With Hospital Cover
The hospital services you’re covered for will depend on the tier you choose (basic, bronze, silver or gold). Typically, however, you’ll be covered for some or all of these services:
- In-patient hospital treatments and services.
- Doctor and specialist fees during your hospital stay.
- Surgical procedures and operations.
- Emergency ambulance cover.
- Hospital accommodation and accommodation expenses.
- Intensive care unit (ICU) and high dependency unit (HDU) charges.
- In-hospital pharmaceuticals and medications.
- Medical tests and diagnostic services.
- Rehabilitation services after hospitalisation.
- Pregnancy and childbirth-related services (depending on the policy).
What You’re Covered for with Extras
Again, your extras cover will depend on your unique needs and the policy you choose to take out. However, you can be covered for health services like:
- General dental check-ups and treatments.
- Eye services, including prescription glasses and contact lenses.
- Physiotherapy and chiropractic sessions.
- Remedial massage therapy.
- Podiatry and foot care services.
- Natural therapies like acupuncture and naturopathy.
- Psychology and counselling services.
- Hearing aids and audiology services.
- Occupational therapy and speech therapy.
Keep in mind annual limits, waiting periods and out-of-pocket costs do apply depending on your health insurer and your level of cover.
Finding the Best Health Fund for Single Parents
In April 2007, private health funds started offering single parents reduced premiums compared to the family cover rate. Before that, single parents were charged the same as two-parent families, which was quite unfair.
While it’s true that single parents no longer pay as much as before, they still pay more than singles without kids. However, not all health funds provide lower premiums for single parents compared to families.
The amount of the reduced premium can vary among different health funds. Generally, most of them charge single parents 10-30% less than families for their health cover.
It’s essential to note that while some health funds offer lower premiums for hospital cover, they may not extend the same discount to extras cover.
Remember, when choosing the best health fund for your needs, it’s not just about the discounts. Some funds that charge single parents the same as families might actually offer better value for money with their policies.
Be sure to use our comparison tool to review and compare different health insurance policies, so you can find the one that suits your situation and requirements best.
What Private Health Insurance rebates are available for single parents?
The good news is that many people in Australia, including single parents, are eligible for a Government rebate on their Health Insurance costs. This Australian Government Private Health Insurance Rebate is designed to help with some of the expenses associated with Health Insurance. The rebate is income-tested and applies to both hospital and general treatment (Extras) cover. The threshold increases for each additional child after the first.
Will my single Health Insurance policy cover my child?
If you have a single Health Insurance policy (singles policy), it only covers you, the adult. However, if you have dependents, like children, you can add them to your policy. This requires upgrading your policy to either a single parent policy or a family policy, which will have a higher cost than a single policy.
Will my child always be covered under my policy?
In most cases, single parent policies will cover dependent children until they reach 21 years of age. Some health funds that offer single parent cover may extend the coverage for dependents up to the age of 31.
It’s important to note that some single parent policies covering adult children only do so if they are still students. If your adult child is over 21 and no longer studying, they might need to get their own singles cover. However, certain single parent policies allow adult dependents to remain on your cover, regardless of their student status, for an additional premium.
Doesn’t Medicare cover everything I need?
Medicare covers essential medical services, but it doesn’t include everything you might need. Private Health Insurance can provide additional coverage for services like dental care, optical, and extras like physiotherapy. It gives you more options and control over your healthcare choices.
Does the Lifetime Health Cover Loading affect single parent cover?
Lifetime Health Cover Loading is a government initiative that encourages Australians to take out private health cover earlier in life. If you don’t have hospital cover by the age of 31, and you decide to take it out later, you may have to pay an additional loading on top of your premium. Insurance providers may apply this loading to single parents if they don’t have adequate hospital cover by the specified age.
What is the Medicare Levy Surcharge, and does it affect single parents?
The Medicare Levy Surcharge is an additional tax on high-income earners who don’t have appropriate private hospital cover. It aims to encourage these individuals to take out private health insurance and reduce the burden on the public healthcare system. As a single parent, you might be subject to the Medicare Levy Surcharge if your income meets the specified threshold and you don’t have the required private hospital cover. Having the right health insurance can help you avoid this surcharge and protect your family’s healthcare needs.
Let CHI Help You Find the Right Single Parent Health Cover
If you’re searching for private health cover as a single parent but are overwhelmed by all the choices available, don’t worry, we can help!
Use our free online tool below to get personalised health cover quotes from Australia’s leading health fund providers in minutes!