Your Guide to Finding Single Parent Health Insurance Plans

Published: December 3, 2018

These days more and more parents are raising their children on their own, either because of death, divorce, abandonment or by choice. According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, about 11% of all households are single parent families with dependent children.

Don’t be caught off guard with unexpected medical bills. As a single parent, you often have so many things to cope with that changing or getting health insurance is often forgotten. Nevertheless, proper protection is a must because when you have children, many unforeseen costs can arise.

If you’re a single mother or father, then searching for the right private health insurance policy can be unnerving. Use this guide to assist you and once you know which services and treatments you want coverage for, shop around and compare quotes from some of Australia's major brands.

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How to find the best health insurance for single fathers and mothers

Start by making a list of all the treatments and services you want from a policy and that you think you and your kids are likely to claim on. When reviewing plans, consider the following:

Your health

Because you have children who depend on you, make sure to get a policy that will keep you around for a long time. Keep in mind, as a single parent you probably have higher levels of stress and anxiety and might want to consider protection against health problems typically associated with it, for example, high blood pressure, fatigue, skin problems, headaches, upset stomach and grinding teeth.

Your children’s needs

Every single-parent family is different. You might have one child or a brood of kids all different ages. Consider what each one of your children might need in their immediate future. For example:

  • The need for a specialist: Speech therapy or occupational therapy.
  • Kids dental requirements: Do you need cover for orthodontics?
  • Sporty children: If your child is very active, it might be worth getting a higher level of coverage. Also, select companies might include swimming lessons when it's deemed medically necessary.

Your budget

One of the biggest challenges single mothers and father face is economic constraints. Consider your income and month-to-month expenses to calculate the premiums you'll be able to afford.

Waiting Periods

Health funds generally differ in how long you must wait, after commencing a policy, before you can claim benefits. For example, some insurers have a zero waiting period for ambulance services, while others require you wait at least seven days before a claim will be paid.calculate the premiums you'll be able to afford.

Changes to your private health insurance after divorce

If you currently have a couples or family health insurance policy but are going through a separation or divorce, you must inform the health insurance company on your changing status to make sure a future claim will be paid.

When legally separated from your spouse you can no longer keep your couples or family health insurance policy. You must be registered as married or in a relationship to be able to stay on a family policy with your former partner.

You will usually need to take out a separate Single Parent policy, which is generally designed to provide you with the same level of protection than a family policy without the same cost. However, your kids will usually only need to be on one of your plans, either yours or your partner's, to be able to receive the full benefits.

Where to find the best private health insurance for single parents

There is no one-size-fits-all single parent health insurance plan. However, you’ll likely want both Hospital coverage, in case you or your child needs surgery or in-hospital treatment, and Extras cover for general treatments outside of the hospital, for example dental, physio and psychology.

You might not know this, but you can mix and match Hospital and Extras from different providers. If you need to tailor your coverage to suit your specific requirements, you can usually buy hospital coverage from one health fund and a separate extras policy from another.

Depending on what you can afford and your specific circumstances, you can, for example, choose:

  • Bronze Hospital policy from one health fund: Covers the basics and usually includes comprehensive ambulance services, and a
  • Comprehensive Extras policy from another fund: Generally, covers a wide range of general treatments including major dental, orthodontics, physiotherapy, optical and psychology.

Hospital and Extras cover options for single parents in Australia

Basic Hospital only policy Hospital monthly premium Top Extras only policy Extras monthly premium
Basic Hospital
$170.85 Defence HealthDefence Health
Value Extras
Core Hospital
$172.80 Doctors HealthDoctors Health
Essential Extras
Super Saver Hospital
$173.95 Teachers Health FundTeachers Health
Top Extras
Basic Hospital
$176.03 HCFHCF
Platinum Extras
Basic Hospital
$176.46 CBHSCBHS
Gold Extras
White lite
$179.25 MedibankMedibank
Top Extras 70
Source: (November 2018) (October 2018)

The above table is based on a single parent living in Victoria. Basic Hospital coverage with $500 Excess and Top Extras, this excludes the Lifetime Health Cover loading and Government rebate.

Request Hospital and Extras quotes

How to save money on your single parent health insurance

Review your options and remove items you’re not using

The month of March is usually a good time to review and tweak your policy as premiums generally increase on the 1ste of April each year. Ask your insurer for an annual claims statement so you can see which treatments and services you regularly use vs those that you don't and then you can adapt your policy based on these findings. For example, remove orthodontics from your extras policy if your children no longer need their teeth straightened.

Shop around for a better deal

Start online and use a comparison site to gather quotes and compare your policy to other companies out there to see if you can find better cover at a lower price.

Don’t be afraid to switch providers

After you've done your homework and find that your current policy is too expensive or not providing the level of protection you and your children require, you can change funds. However, first find out if you'll have to reserve certain waiting periods.

Check out restricted health funds

Restricted health insurance policies sometimes offer great value at much lower prices and often have the lowest premium hikes per year. Find out if your workplace is affiliated with any particular fund, for example, Teachers Health for educational professionals or Doctors Health if you’re part of the medical community.

Pay an excess or co-payment

By committing to pay a set amount up front for each day you're in the hospital, you can lower your monthly premiums.

Avoid the Lifetime Health Cover loading (LHC)

A 2% fee is added to your health insurance for each year you do not have cover since turning 31, so get health insurance before then. If you're an expat, you generally have one year from becoming a permanent resident before the LHC loading will be applied.

Review different health insurance policies

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Ask an Expert?


  • David |

    I’m divorced. My ex-wife is the primary carer for our 2 young kids. We split the medical bills 50:50.

    We want to separate our family private health policy. Should she have the 2 kids on her policy and I pay a 1/3 of the premium or should we take on 1 child each for each of our policies?

      Anneke Van Aswegen |

      Hi David. Very interesting question.

      This is a personal choice and should be dependent on what you and your ex-wife are comfortable with. Just make sure that your children are covered for the treatments and services you most frequently need to claim on.

      It might be best to talk with a specialist to assist you in making an informed decision. Please call 1300 795 560 for immediate assistance.