The Best Family Health Insurance in Australia

Published: July 14, 2017

With so many health insurance options it can be difficult to decide which one will be the best for your family. You need a plan that suits your specific family situation – whether you’re pregnant and starting a family or a single parent doing it by yourself. No matter what your circumstances, you want to protect your loved ones’ health and make sure they have access to fast treatment at an affordable price.

Family types

  • Starting a family
  • Young families
  • Single-parent families

Health cover options

  • Medibank
  • nib
  • HBF

Saving for cover

  • Low-income family
  • Saving tips
  • FAQ

Our guide to finding private health insurance for your whole family will help you choose the best health cover at the most affordable price.  Start by comparing a variety of health insurance policies and decide which one is best suited to your family.

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What is the best health insurance plan for families?

The best health insurance plan for your family depends on which stage of life you’re currently in and what you can afford. The right plan will help you supplement costs that Medicare doesn’t cover, like theatre and accommodation costs, ambulance services, prescription glasses, contact lenses, dental, and occupational therapy. Choosing the right plan should give you peace of mind.

For example, as a two-parent family with teenagers, you might want cover that fits in with your budget and includes major dental, glasses, physiotherapy, and surgery to remove adenoids, appendixes, and tonsils.

How do family types affect the kind of cover you need?

The only similarity all families share is the knowledge that you’ll grow and change. Other than that, every family is different, and each requires its own kind of health cover. Remember, if you’re switching health insurance because your family has outgrown your current plan, you usually won’t need to re-serve waiting periods when you transfer to another plan.

Family types generally fall into four categories:

  • Starting a family / Pregnant
  • Young families
  • Single-parent families
  • Established families

Companies offering family health care insurance

There are many Australian health insurance companies offering family plans, giving you more freedom as you decide which one suits your unique family dynamic. Compare different health funds and make sure you are getting the cover you need and can afford.

Medibank family cover health insurance

Medibank offers four categories of health insurance for families: Just the Basics, Growing a Family, Established Families, and Peace of Mind. Within these categories, you can choose between of hospital and extras cover.

  • Price Range: $46.63 – $153.56 per week.
  • What’s Covered: Even the most basic options include cover for ambulance services, dental and optical services (including glasses), removal of tonsils, and appendicitis treatments, while their more comprehensive options cover orthodontics and give you higher extras back.

nib family health care insurance

As part of their family health insurance, nib offers Established Family options, Young Family options, and Single Parent Family options. Each of these provides you with three packages with varying levels of hospital and extras cover to choose from.

  • Price Range: $42.62 – $137.20 per week.

What’s Covered: Basic policies give you basic cover for accidental injuries, unlimited emergency ambulance services, general dental and optical services, while comprehensive policies cover for eye treatments, dental surgery, and pregnancy cover.

HBF family cover health insurance

HBF offers three groups of cover, including Still Growing, Young Families, and Older Families, from which you can then choose from the two hospital plans and two extras plans that HBF recommends for each group. This way you can build your plan and get the cover that best suits your specific needs.

  • Price Range: $28.10 – $45.00 per week.
  • What’s Covered: You can pair your more basic hospital plans with your choice of four or ten extras, so that you really do have more freedom to choose the cover that you can afford and that your family needs.

Bupa family health insurance

Bupa’s family health cover includes three groups: I’m not planning to have more kids, I’m planning to have kids, and I want Bupa’s best family cover. You can then choose from their hospital and extras packages, whether you need their basic Budget Family option or something more comprehensive, like their Ultimate Health Cover.

  • Price Range: $64.55 – $145.75 per week.
  • What’s Covered: Basic plans cover a range of useful extras and hospital cover, like appendicitis treatment, up to 60% back on general dental and selected optical, and full cardiac. Comprehensive plans cover more complex treatments, like orthodontics, cataract and eye lens procedures, and pregnancy.

GMHBA family health care insurance

When it comes to GMHBA’s family health insurance, you can choose between Starter Family Package, Everyday Family Package (no pregnancy), and Premium Family Package (no pregnancy). You can even choose to take out a low, medium, or high level of hospital or extras cover as a standalone policy.

  • Price Range: $45.6 – $114.95 per week.
  • What’s Covered: With their entry level option, you can get up to 55% back on basic extras while their higher levels of cover give you 65% back on more extras and access to more complex services, like intensive and coronary care, dental surgery, pregnancy-related services (like childbirth), and eye and speech therapies.

Frank health insurance for families

As a part of their offering, they provide Better Hospital (no Co-Payment) & Some Extras 50% Back, Essentials Bundle, and Better Hospital (no Co-Payment) & Some Extras 80% back.

  • Price Range: $59.80 – $67.35 per week.
  • What’s Covered: Frank’s family options give you mid-level hospital cover and 50% back on popular extras, like dental, optical, and physiotherapy all the way up to 80% back on extras and more complex hospital procedures, like cardiac and appendicitis treatment.

HCF health insurance for growing families

Given that families come in all shapes and sizes, HCF allows you to be more specific about your type of family and presents you with a variety of options, including Planning a Family Package, Family with Kids Package, No Pregnancy Package, and Top Cover Package, each of which provides policies for you to choose from so that you can get the cover that you need and afford.

  • Price Range: $50.90 – $108.10 per week.
  • What’s Covered: Even the most basic package gives you cover for the removal of tonsils, adenoids, and appendix, as well as accident-related treatments and basic extras, cover, including a range of therapies, and their top-level plans cover pregnancy and comprehensive extras, like prescription glasses, major dental services, and other more complex procedures, like heart surgery.

Health insurance for low income families

If you’re a low-income family, you have several options to protect you and your family against the financial burden of health-related costs. Firstly, you have access to Medicare, which gives you admission to public healthcare for some treatments and services, at no charge, by a doctor appointed by the hospital.

As a low-income family, you and your dependent children might also be entitled to a Low Income Health Care Card, which gives you:

  • Discounted medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
  • Bigger Refunds for medical costs when you reach the Medicare Safety Net.
  • The ability to bulk bill your doctor visits.

While these are good options to help pay for medical treatments, there is also affordable private health insurance for low income families that will provide you with cover for basic hospital and a few extras. HBF, for example, offers you Super Saver Hospital and Saver Flexi Extras, their low-cost options.

The cost of health insurance policies for my family

Family health insurance policies can be very expensive, especially when you choose to include all the things that you need cover for, like hospital care, ambulance cover, regular check-ups and shots, physio, speech therapy, occupational therapy, dental treatment and orthodontics, prescription glasses and contact lenses. So, we’ve created some tips to help you save on these expenses.

How to save on family health care insurance

The cost of private health insurance in Australia is higher than most other countries, made even more expensive by the recent price hike of approximately 4.84% that took place earlier this year. However, how much you pay all depends on the company you choose, your policy type, and the extras you have included.

While there may be cheaper family health insurance policies out there, make sure you look at why they are so cheap. Cheaper policies may include additional exclusions, higher excesses, and bigger co-payments. It’s a good idea to first read through the Standard Information Statement (SIS) of a policy before making a commitment.

Tips to save on your family health cover:

  • Review and compare costs and features of a variety of health cover
  • Be realistic about what you need cover for and make sure you’re not spending money on services you won’t use, like pregnancy cover if you’re not planning to have more children.
  • Avoid paying the Medicare Levy Surcharge, which is an additional tax that Australians who don’t have private hospital cover pay, by taking out private health cover and choosing an of $1000 or less for families.
  • Avoid the Lifetime Health Cover Loading, which is an additional 2% on top of your health insurance premiums, by taking out private cover for your family before 1 July after your 31st
  • You can also save with the Australian Government Private Health Insurance rebate, which helps cover the cost of your premiums and is calculated based on your age and income.

FAQs | Family health insurance

Children can remain on your family policy until they’re deemed adults by your health fund, which is usually 18 years old. Generally, children can stay covered as a student if they’re studying full-time and between the age 21-25. If your child isn’t studying full-time, you can cover them as an adult dependant from the age 21-25 for an additional fee.

You might want health insurance for your baby, especially in an emergency. Although medical care for your baby will probably be covered by Medicare, this cover might not provide for financial protection from some unexpected medical events that may arise in your child’s life. Just note that you must contact your health fund to add your baby to your cover.

To get international family health insurance, you need to get a quote from the health fund of your choice, accept their terms and conditions, and pay your first premium. There are several insurers who offer what is known as “485 insurance”, including NiB, Bupa, and Medibank. It’s important to compare each option to make sure that your family has the cover they need while living in Australia.

Health insurance for military families in Australia is simple to navigate. Permanent ADF members are automatically covered by Defence Health and can cover their partners and children, too, which is easily done online or over the phone.

You can manage your policy online by using their Online Member Services to view your cover and limits and even claim for certain treatments. Other ways to claim, include swiping your Defence Health membership card on the spot, using their mobile app, and even emailing, faxing, or posting your claim form to Defence Health.

Before you choose a health insurance policy for your family’s specific circumstances and requirements, make sure that you compare other top health funds to determine which one will provide you with the best cover at the best price.  

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