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Compare the Best Senior Health Insurance 2023

Megan Fraser Fact Checked Updated: 20 November 2023
Types of Health Insurance
senior health insurance

As you get older, it becomes increasingly important to have health insurance. You want to be able to take care of yourself as you age, and having good health insurance is one of the best ways to do that. Make sure you are covered for all eventualities — from routine checkups to major surgery. Compare the best senior health insurance policies in the market and find one that fits your needs.

Policies vary greatly, so make sure you are fully informed before making a decision. This article outlines the details when it comes to private health insurance for seniors, the costs involved, and the rebates you can receive.

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What is senior health insurance?

Health insurance is a great way to protect yourself from high medical costs. Senior health insurance provides coverage for the needs of singles or couples who are over the age of 65. The definition of “senior” may vary between different providers — with some offering policies to people in their 50s, whereas others require an age requirement of at least 65 years old before they can enrol into this type of service plan. If you’re over 65 years old and not yet retired, it may be time for senior health insurance.
The best type of private health insurance policy will depend on your current needs and any future ones that might arise with age. Remember to consider emergencies during retirement such as an accident at work causing injury that requires extensive treatment in hospital settings outside normal clinic hours (or even just part-time).

Pros and cons of seniors health insurance cover

If you’re a senior citizen, chances are that your requirements for healthcare services are greater. In this case, you’ll generally want the best coverage to suit your specific needs and ensure no hefty costs put you back in your later years. 

Below is a list of both advantages and disadvantages of purchasing health insurance for seniors. It’s always important to review the details of health insurance before you commit to ensure you’re getting the best value.


  • You receive shorter waiting times.
  • You have the option to choose your own medical provider.
  • You can decide on your appointment times
  • If you still earn an income, you won’t have to pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge.
  • All policy levels cover emergency ambulances.
  • You receive a higher rebate after the age of 65.


  • Policies are not cheap and start at around $85 a month.
  • If this is your first time purchasing a health insurance policy, you will have to pay the lifetime health cover loading fee, which is an additional 70% charge on top of your monthly premium.

How much does senior health insurance cost?

Private health insurance can be expensive and it’s important to choose the right policy for your needs. The cost of health coverage will depend on what type you choose, how much cover is needed at each level, if you want to purchase Hospital cover, Extras cover, or both. Always review the services covered in your policy level as you may find you’re paying for unnecessary services, such as family planning.

The cost of health insurance will be much cheaper for seniors over 65 since they receive higher rebates from their government than younger people do when purchasing policies on the open market. On average, a single adult who resides in NSW, a Basic Hospital and Extras policy can cost anything between $110,50 and $140,00 per month. Whereas a Gold Hospital and Top Extras policy can cost between $240,00 to $500,00 per month.

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The cost of private health insurance depends on what level and type you purchase. A Bronze Hospital policy with Basic Extras will generally be cheaper than Gold coverage, which offers more comprehensive benefits but at higher prices per year (Gold policies typically require annual payments).

InsurerAverage Monthly Premium
Peoplecare Health Insurance Gold Hospital $750 & Premium Extras$405.90
CBHS Health Fund Limited Prestige (Gold)$377.17
MediBank Gold Ultra Health Cover$530.00
Bupa HI Pty Ltd Gold Ultimate Health Cover$507.65

Source: (April 2022, Premiums based on a single individual living in NSW)

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What does seniors’ health insurance cover?

Private health insurance for seniors is a great way to protect yourself from the costs of hospitalisation. A senior’s policy will generally have exclusions, like pregnancy cover. However, they do offer more than most people over 65 need with private accommodation in either public or private hospitals as well heart and respiratory care (including medication). Ambulance services are also invaluable when you’re on your own.

Hospital cover

Hospital cover is generally a policy that covers in-hospital treatments. Hospital cover is the best way to ensure that you have access and flexibility when it comes time for your medical treatment. Hospital cover can be purchased at four different levels: basic, bronze, silver, and gold. All provide specific benefits such as choice of doctor or hospital room (where available) depending on what’s required by law in Australia. These services include:

Extras cover

Typically, Extras health insurance helps pay for out-of-hospital treatments which Medicare doesn’t usually cover, like dental care. Many policies also provide coverage to ambulance fees in case you need it outside your state or territory’s public system. Below is a list of possible services a Gold Extras policy covers:

Do you need a seniors health insurance policy?

Private health insurance can provide an individual with better quality of life by giving them access to surgeries that may otherwise have long waiting periods in the public system. Health insurance is a great way to protect yourself from the costs of hospital visits and other medical treatments. With private health coverage, you’ll be able to get tailored care that best suits your needs when faced with an injury or illness outside traditional Medicare-covered services.

It’s important to review and compare multiple health insurance companies and their policies to ensure you’re purchasing coverage that is best suited to your needs and budget.

Rebates for seniors health insurance

Private health insurance rebates can be up to 15% of your premiums. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has information on what income will qualify you for a private healthcare rebate and how much it could potentially cost if you are eligible based on that criteria, as well as different age groups within those categories.
The size or amount awarded depends largely upon two factors: whether one receives welfare payments such as retirement Age Pension assets along with other sources. Additionally, the amount depends on whether they’re single/without family members who require coverage themselves.

Applying for private health insurance as a senior with pre existing conditions

Health insurance providers in Australia are required to put up a 12-month waiting period before they provide benefits for hospital treatment. This is done so that people with pre-existing conditions cannot be charged more than other citizens, and it also prevents them from being able to increase premiums simply because of their health status or the likelihood associated with needing care.

The doctor’s decision on whether your condition was pre-existing is up to them, not you. However, they will take any information given by your doctor into consideration when making their determination. Sometimes, people may need a medical certificate from him/her which can be sent directly via email as proof of diagnosis for insurance purposes.

Frequently asked questions

  • Which is the best health insurance for a pensioner?

    When you’re looking for the best senior health insurance policy, don’t just think about premiums and benefits. It’s also important to compare your options carefully so that you can find an offer with both affordable prices as well satisfying coverage requirements like Medicare deductibles or out-of-pocket maximums – no matter what age. The best health insurance company or policy is one that meets your specific healthcare requirements while remaining within your budget.
  • Are seniors eligible for a health insurance rebate?

    Yes, seniors are eligible for rebates on their private health insurance. The size of your health insurance rebate is dependent on a number of factors like income and age, but it’s also influenced by whether or not you have dependents. Generally speaking as an individual with fewer earnings capacity (i e: young), the higher any given reward could be. Remember to review the government rebate specific to your region.
  • How does the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card work?

    The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is a great way for eligible people who are at the age of eligibility for pension, or close to it. This card can help with certain health care costs and prescriptions that you may need from time to time. The Age pension is a safety net for people who have reached the age of 65 and are not yet eligible for retirement payments. To get this card, you need to meet all these conditions: Be over 50 years old or qualify as exempt from doing so based on certain criteria, have an income below what’s required just in case there’s any left after paying bills, proof that proves both identity verification and residence rules met.
  • Do seniors serve waiting periods?

    Yes, seniors will usually have to serve a 2-month waiting period for most treatments or 12 months if they’re preoccupied with an existing condition. However, you won’t need to serve any waiting periods if you already have on your previous policies because these changes were already covered by them – so there’s no risk involved in making this switch, especially since it could save money down the line while still providing excellent coverage. If you are changing policy levels and companies, you will have to reserve the waiting periods.
  • Do pensioners pay more for private health insurance?

    The price of premiums depends on a variety of factors, including your age, budget, policy level, healthcare needs, and dependants. Generally speaking, seniors may need to pay more since they require more comprehensive and greater medical care and services, such as hip or knee replacements. This often means they require higher policy levels, such as a Silver or Gold policy, which costs more. It’s important to remember that seniors are eligible for greater government rebates, which can bring down the cost in general.

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