How to find the best health insurance in Australia

In Australia, the public health system Medicare covers hospital, medical and pharmaceutical costs for citizens and most residents. Medicare however does not cover everything. Combining Medicare with private health insurance allows you the flexibility in making available the health care services of your choice. A private health cover often also includes other benefits for the insured as well as savings on tax for example.

So you might then ask yourself:

How do I find the best private health insurance in Australia?

Tough question. In a recent report, the Australian Private Health Insurance Ombudsman estimated that a single person may have as many as 50 to 100 health insurance policies to compare and choose from. How indeed do you find the best among the myriad options of available policies? What is the "best" option?

The quickest answer is really this: there is no single answer. There is no one "best" health insurance policy that applies to everyone. The thing to remember in looking for the "best" is always how it is the "best for me." The best health care insurance for you is the one that best suits your specific present and future health care needs. The best health care insurance for you is the one that also best fits your financial capabilities.

Bronze Hospital & Bronze Extras Set Benefits

Entry level hospital cover. Includes preventative dental and optical.
$ 19.10
per week
Select

Bronze Hospital & Silver Extras Set Benefits

Entry level cover. Cover for a range of popular services that suit your lifestyle.
$ 22.80
per week
Select

Silver Hospital & Bronze Extras Set Benefits

Moderate cover. Includes private hospital with some exclusions. Includes cover for preventative dental.
$ 26.40
per week
Select
  • Covered in a public hospital as a private patient
  • Hospital treatment as a result of an accident
  • Knee and shoulder reconstruction
  • Dental (preventative and general only)
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Covered in a public hospital as a private patient
  • Hospital treatment as a result of an accident
  • Knee and shoulder reconstruction
  • Dental (preventative, general and major)
  • Optical
  • More services than Bronze
  • Shared / single room in a private hospital
  • Hospital treatment as a result of an accident
  • Knee and shoulder reconstruction
  • Dental (preventative and general only)
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy

Bronze Hospital & Bronze Extras Set Benefits

Entry level hospital cover. Includes preventative dental and optical.
$ 19.10
per week
Select
  • Covered in a public hospital as a private patient
  • Hospital treatment as a result of an accident
  • Knee and shoulder reconstruction
  • Dental (preventative and general only)
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy

Bronze Hospital & Silver Extras Set Benefits

Entry level cover. Cover for a range of popular services that suit your lifestyle.
$ 22.80
per week
Select
  • Covered in a public hospital as a private patient
  • Hospital treatment as a result of an accident
  • Knee and shoulder reconstruction
  • Dental (preventative, general and major)
  • Optical
  • More services than Bronze

Silver Hospital & Bronze Extras Set Benefits

Moderate cover. Includes private hospital with some exclusions. Includes cover for preventative dental.
$ 26.40
per week
Select
  • Shared / single room in a private hospital
  • Hospital treatment as a result of an accident
  • Knee and shoulder reconstruction
  • Dental (preventative and general only)
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy

* The price shown is per week and applies to a Single living in VIC with a $500 excess. It excludes LHC loading and includes a Base Tier Government Rebate

No waiting periods on any extras when joining on combined covers*

*For new members on direct debit, must pay first month. Annual limits and sub limits apply. Offer ends 28 February 2017

In order to find the best health insurance for you, ask yourself instead these clear-cut questions:

Where in Australia will I most likely need frequent health care? Is there a specific hospital whose services I am most likely to need?

The answer to this question limits your list of private health insurer choices. If you already have a preferred hospital, check with them for their agreements with health insurance providers. Doing this will allow you to visualize and compare the benefits of one insurance policy to another. Checking with your hospital also minimizes the chances of you picking an insurance plan that does not fit your health care needs.

Some private health insurers do not operate in all states and territories in Australia. Others like, GMHBA Limited, operate in all.

How many dependants do I need covered by my health insurance policy?

In choosing a health insurance policy, you need to factor in your dependants if you have any. Each insurance provider has a different set of criteria for covered dependants. Check and choose the policy that matches your needs and that of your dependants.

What health care services do I really need?

This requires some serious pondering over. Once you figure this out, you will find yourself closer to the best health insurance plan for you. Private health insurance policies in Australia come in two types. The first are hospital policies that cover you for hospital services. The second are general treatment policies that cover you for "extras" treatment like dental and physiotherapy.

Depending on what you really need, you could purchase either type or a combination of both policies. You could even "mix and match" and purchase separately from different insurers.

How reliable is that health insurance policy you now want to purchase?

The Australian Private Health Insurance Ombudsman releases annual reports on health insurance firms. They are all uploaded online. Check these out. You could refer to their findings and use them as indicators of customer satisfaction for each particular health insurance fund. One valuable indicator is the retention rate. This refers to the number of covered individuals that stick with a certain health care provider. Another important indicator is the complaint rate for every health insurance firm.

Your answers to these questions will lead you to the best health care coverage in Australia. And one last thing to remember: the "best" insurance policy that you have chosen will be subject to change because your needs change. Review your policy every year to keep it up with your needs and to keep it the best.