Which Health Fund Has the Best Extras Cover & How to Compare

Published: September 26, 2018

You’re ready to buy extras health insurance and have been looking around for the best option.

The best extras plan for you depend on your unique circumstances and stage of life (single, starting a family, retired etc.). One of the easiest ways to find ancillary cover suited to your requirements is first to determine what benefits you need and what you can afford. Next, request quotes and compare private health insurance extras from different companies.

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Choose your own extras health insurance

The benefits you’ll receive from an ancillary health insurance policy depends on your level of cover. There are generally three types of extras only health insurance you can choose from.

Basic

Basic extras generally provide only the essential benefits and have the most restrictions and exclusions. Usually includes general dental, optical and physiotherapy.

Mid

Adds additional benefits, like major dental and psychology but generally still excludes or restrict services like pregnancy-related procedures, orthodontics and hearing aids.

Comprehensive

Generally, there are no exclusions or restrictions on benefits and payment will be made for all procedures where Medicare pays a benefit. Typically, this is the most expensive option.

The price of health insurance, including extras cover, rises annually on the 1st of April. It’s important to regularly review whether your extras cover is worth your general treatment expenses. However, your unique requirements should be at the forefront of your mind when comparing health insurance policies.

Extras cover comparison by health fund

Private health fund Description
Bupa extras cover is divided into bronze, silver gold and platinum, with gold and platinum being the most comprehensive packages. However, platinum provides 90% to 100% back compared to gold’s 75% to 82.5%.

Bupa also offers a ‘Your Choice Extras' option which gives you the freedom to choose any 4 services marked with an asterisk in the Standard Information Statement (SIS).

There are plenty of AHM extras cover options to choose from, starting at the most basic of ancillary cover, Black 50 saver, that only provides general dental, physiotherapy, chiropractic, and partly covers ambulance cover, to their Super extras option that includes all benefits except blood glucose monitors.
When purchasing a Medibank private health insurance extras cover, you'll usually get access to their wide range of providers that help you reduce your out-of-pocket expenses. Their most basic policy is less than $30 per month, and their top insurance can go over $140 per month.
For most extras’ services on the HBF ancillary cover, your annual limit will typically increase by $25 to $100 per year for up to a maximum of four years. Choose between Basic, Mid and Plus insurance to find what suits you best.
With Frank health insurance extras, you can choose between Some Extras, providing 50% to 80% back on more common treatments and Lots Extras, offering 50% to 80% back on a broader list of benefits.
While there are only 5 HCF health insurance extras cover options available, Australia’s largest not-for-profit fund offers some of the most affordable general treatment cover. Bronze cover from as little as $16 per months and Platinum for under $100.
nib ancillary cover offers members the choice between Core extras, Premium and Top extras. Core extras have an array of different options suited to Australians at different stages of their life, including Young at Heart and Family options.
CBHS offers 3 general treatment services; bronze, silver and gold. By using the fund's list of preferred providers, you can lower your out of pocket costs on dental and optical. You'll also typically have access to dieticians and health management services.
Extras only cover from Australian Unity enables you to build your own general treatment policy. The fund also provides members with access to their Wellness Rewards Program, which gives you access to generous discounts.
The 10 GMHBA ancillary cover options available to Australians, include bronze, silver and gold packages. The health fund provides discounted rates when paying by direct debit and includes additional features like occupational therapy and hydrotherapy.
Teachers health insurance is restricted to Australians in the education community. Choose between an Essentials or Top extras package, each with Healthy Lifestyle discounts.
Defence health general treatment services are restricted to the Australian Defence Force and their family members. Choose the budget-friendly Essential extras or the more comprehensive Premier package.

Source: PrivateHealth.gov.au
The above list is just some of the health funds available in Australia. There are over 30 private health insurance providers to choose from. For a complete list, please visit PrivateHealth.gov.au

How to compare extras cover

One of the most effective ways to determine which ancillary option is best for you is to use a comparison website like ComparingExpert to request quotes and then review what each health fund has to offer. When comparing general treatment services, make sure the cover is relevant to your:

It's important to think carefully about your needs and let your specific circumstances guide you. For example, you might enjoy playing many contact sports, or have a family history of certain illnesses, or you might be planning to start a family.

Request a general treatment quote

Best extras cover in Australia for different stages of your life

The stage of life you’re in now or planning to enter could be an indication of the level and type of cover you need. For example, if you’re starting a family, you’ll likely want an ancillary policy that covers pregnancy-related services. Of course, personal health factors, like pre-existing conditions and your family’s medical history, should also be taken into consideration.

single-man-square

Singles

Single adults generally tend to choose the more basic extras packages because they are typically cheaper. When you're young and healthy, you usually don't need a wide range of benefits.

couple

Couples

Whether married or unmarried, couples might want to consider whether one policy will suit both individuals or if two separate plans with different levels of cover catering to their individual requirements will be better.

family

Family

Families usually pay the same health insurance premium as couples, so you can generally add your children for free. You can usually cover the whole family under one policy and include extras relevant to growing children, like orthodontics, speech therapy, swimming lessons, appendectomies, and more.

seniors

Seniors

Australian over the age of 55 generally make the most claims on their extra's benefits. If you're a more mature individual, you might want to consider a comprehensive extras plan that includes treatments, like major dental services, cataract surgery, hip replacement and the cost of hearing aids.

Choosing an ancillary policy based on your age

Different age groups require different medical treatments and services. When you’re reviewing your policy options, it’s important to keep in mind that your age might influence the type of cover and annual limit you need. What works for a 24-year-old, might not be the best extras health insurance for a 65-year-old.

  • Under 30: If you don’t wear glasses or need lots of dental care, you might not need extras health insurance and only want an ambulance-only policy, because Medicare does not cover the cost of ambulance services.
  • Between 30 – 40: If you have a family or plan to start one, it might be more budget-friendly, in the long run, to consider a mid to top level extras cover that includes, antenatal, postnatal, orthodontics, various therapies and other services relevant to a growing family.
  • Over 50: At this age, you likely don't need cover that includes maternity services or IVF, but a policy that has higher limits for major dental, optical and physiotherapy might be more appropriate, depending on your health.
  • Over 65: You might want to consider extras insurance that includes ambulance services, a fuller range of prescription medications, osteopathy and podiatry.
  • Over 70: People over the age of 70 usually requires more intensive general treatment services, including hearing aids, surgical stockings, home nursing, and comprehensive ambulance cover.

The cost of extras health insurance

If you want a more comprehensive policy, you’re probably looking for top ancillary cover and will need to pay more in premiums. Medium cover will usually cost less but provide fewer benefits and have more restrictions. Consider which benefits you are forfeiting to obtain a lower premium.

Make a list of treatments you regularly claim for (e.g. dental check-ups, physiotherapy, contact lenses or glasses etc.) and decide whether your yearly extras premium is less than what you would pay out-of-pocket if you had no cover.

Paying a larger excess will generally result in a lower premium. The more you're willing to pay to cover treatment, the cheaper your extras cover will usually be.

Waiting periods for extras health insurance

When comparing ancillary benefits be sure to review the waiting periods attached to the extras cover you're considering. Generally, you'll have to wait 2 to 12 months before you can claim benefits, depending on the treatment you need and the health fund you’ve chosen.

Compare benefit limits

Private health insurers set limits to the amount you can claim annually. Before purchasing a policy, review the policy’s annual limits, sub-limits and lifetime limits.

Should you switch your ancillary health insurance plan?

Competition among private health insurers is a good thing because it provides you with a broader variety of choices at different price points. So, request quotes from leading health insurance companies and decide which one offers you the best extras only health insurance policy.

If you then decide to switch extras policies, you'll be glad to know that when you choose a similar or a lower level of cover, you won’t have to reserve your waiting periods.

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