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Compare Cheap Health Insurance in Australia

Megan Fraser Fact Checked Updated: 15 December 2023
Types of Health Insurance

Although buying private health insurance in Australia isn’t compulsory, it could be cost-effective and highly beneficial. Perhaps you have a chronic illness and require ongoing healthcare, or you’d like to be prepared for any unexpected healthcare emergencies. If that’s the case, then even the most basic health insurance options could ensure you receive quality hospital care, quickly, and with potential access to rebates and discounts. However, it’s a good idea to be clear about what to look for when choosing the best cheap health insurance. This way, you can be sure that you’re getting the utmost value from the insurance you decide to invest in.

The most suitable health insurance for you depends on your needs and budget. Cheap health insurance in Australia is usually grouped under common ‘Basic Hospital Plans.’ Basic hospital treatments will cover hospital psychiatric services, palliative care and rehabilitation. However, health insurance plans beyond the Basic options can also be affordable. Nonetheless, everyone’s requirements are different, so it’s best to consider each insurer’s policies when choosing the perfect plan for you.

Key facts

  • Private health insurance in Australia isn’t compulsory, but can still be beneficial and even affordable.
  • Some private healthcare plans give you access to governmental rebates.
  • The cheapest plans are usually grouped under Basic plans.
  • Basic plans typically do not cover hospital psychiatric services, palliative care and rehabilitation services as these are restricted services.
  • Everyone’s health insurance needs and budgets are as unique as the insurance options available. This makes comparing the current market options essential should you want to find the optimal fit. 
  • Since working with a expert can help ease the searching process, you could contact our team for professional guidance regarding your insurance options.

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Comparing cheap health insurance in Australia

When searching for cheap private health insurance in Australia, there’s much to consider. Knowing which key points to consider could help you compare plans more easily when finding the right one for you. Clarify your healthcare needs and budget, and ensure you know exactly what you’re paying for when choosing your policy. You can also keep an eye out for specials, discounts and government rebates.

Health insurance policies can be complicated. This is why people choose to use online comparison tools instead. These tools do the research process for you, putting together an an-easy-to-read document that’s both personalised and comprehensive. This makes it easier to get an idea of the cover options that would be right for you. What’s more, online comparative tools are unbiased, so you can access the key facts without any external influences.

Tips for comparing affordable health cover

  • List your key considerations, including your current healthcare needs and budget.
  • If you have dependents, clarify their needs before searching for cheap family health insurance options.
  • Watch out for insurance exclusions, restrictions and waiting times.
  • Consider whether the health plans you’re comparing have specials, offer discounts, or grant you access to governmental rebates.
  • If you’d like to quicken the comparative research process, you can reach out to a comparative expert or make use of a comparative online tool.

Hospital Tiers: From Basic to Gold

Australian private health insurance policies for hospital coverage are grouped into four tiers. These tiers start with the Basic option, and go up to the Bronze, Silver, and Gold options. When searching for cheap private health insurance, the entry-level Basic policy is a great place to start. Bronze insurance options cover hospital treatments for more typical conditions. Silver policy options cover a wider range of hospital treatments, and the Gold policy options are considered the highest level of hospital cover – offering the most comprehensive range of healthcare treatment coverage.

When it comes to costs, hospital-tier options can range from approximately $100 per month to up to $250 per month. Of course, this depends on the tier you choose (Basic to Gold), whether you’re eligible for rebates and discounts, the excess you’re expected to pay, and the services you use within the plan you choose. Since total prices vary, always compare all your options and make sure you understand the insurer’s fine print.

Comparison of benefits and costs between hospital tiers

Hospital TierAverage Cost per MonthAverage ExcessKey Benefits Included
basic medal$112.30$750Public hospital treatment, limited private hospital cover
bronze medal$117.85$750Public hospital treatment, basic private hospital cover
silver medal$162.85$750Public and private hospital treatment, mid-level cover for extras
gold medal$240.60$750Comprehensive public and private hospital treatment, high-level cover for extras

Source: PrivateHealth.gov.au (June 2023: Premium estimates above for a single individual living in NSW)

How to Save Money on Health Insurance

Health insurance can be cheap if you know what to look for. For example, paying a higher excess can lead to lower ongoing premiums. If it’s possible, to look at paying your health insurance premiums annually instead of monthly, which could lead to a reduction in overall fees. Watch out for promotions and government rebates, and always shop around, since prices and policies vary.

Medical costs

Government rebates and incentives for health insurance

Some health insurance options allow for government rebates. These rebates are provided by the Australian Government to help reduce the cost of health insurance premiums. The amount of rebate you receive depends on your income, age, and the type of policy you have. To be eligible for the rebate, you must have a policy that meets the government’s standards for basic hospital cover, and extras cover. If you are eligible, you can claim the rebate as a reduction in your health insurance premiums or as a tax offset when you lodge your tax return.

Insurance can help you avoid extra costs, too. For example, the Lifetime Health Cover loading (LHC) was designed to take pressure off public healthcare. So, if you opt to buy private insurance cover after the age of 31, you’ll have to pay an extra 2% of your premium rate on top of your fee. This fee only disappears after 10 years. The sooner you get insurance the better, as you can avoid these fees.

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Importance of regularly reviewing health insurance policies

Regularly reviewing health insurance policies is important for several reasons. For one, health funds review their policies each year, and the Australian Government’s Rebate on private health insurance plans may change. Policy features could change too – and providers may introduce or remove key benefits. This means that other insurance providers or plans could offer you better deals.

You’ll also want to consider your own fluctuating circumstances and requirements. Perhaps your budget has changed, your healthcare needs have changed, or you want to put a family member onto your plan. By reviewing your health insurance policy regularly, you can ensure that you have the appropriate level of cover to meet any fluctuating healthcare needs.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is the cheapest health insurance policy available in Australia?

    The best, cheap health insurance option depends on your requirements and overall budget. You’ll also want to look beyond the numbers and compare the value received rather than the overall costs. Overall, a Basic plan from a reputable insurance provider should offer you the most affordable options for you needs.
  • Can I still receive quality healthcare with a cheap health insurance policy?

    Even cheap health insurance’s plans can grant you access to quality healthcare quickly. You can also get top-quality private services covered for anything related to your including rehabilitation, palliative care and hospital psychiatric services. If you require services beyond those that are fully covered, some Basic options will partially cover them – meaning that you can also have access to private quality healthcare at a reduced rate.
  • Are there any hidden costs associated with affordable health insurance policies?

    Generally speaking, the lower the monthly premium, the higher the excess fee. If you require services beyond rehabilitation, palliative care and hospital psychiatric care, you may have to cover the full or partial amount. As always, when searching for the best cheap health insurance in Australia, consider the coverage level and specific insurance policies.
  • How do I determine the right level of cover for my needs and budget?

    From online sites, reviews, comparative experts and even online comparative tools – there’s ample help available. Online tools are often free, unbiased, updated, and incredibly fast. Simply fill in your annual earnings, your age, and your dependents (if you have any). The comparative tool you use may offer you an overview of your options online, or allow you to download an easy-to-read PDF of your most suitable options. After that, you can contact a comparative expert of your choice, knowing that you are fully informed.
  • Can I switch to a different health insurance provider if I find a cheaper option?

    You can switch plans should you find a more suitable, cheap health insurance option. In fact, it’s even stipulated by Australian law. As a consumer, you have the right to switch cover or insurer without financial loss or extra waiting periods.
  • What should I consider when comparing different cheap health insurance policies?

    Account for your budget, health needs, and dependents. From there, you’ll want to see whether you’re more comfortable having almost all your costs covered at a higher fee, which could potentially save you money in the long run. If you decide to lower your monthly premium, take note of your excess fee and exactly what the insurance plan costs to see whether you’ll be getting the full value of your insurance plan.

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