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Are you considering bronze health insurance coverage, but unsure if it's the right tier for you? While bronze policies provide a basic level of cover, it's important to assess your personal needs and compare different policies before making a decision.
At Savvy, we can help you compare a range of bronze hospital cover plans in one place. By answering a few simple questions about the cover you require, you can easily compare prices, inclusions and other features to find a policy which suits your needs and budget. Get started with a free quote through us today to help you make an informed decision about the best health cover for your needs from our panel.
What is bronze health insurance and how does it work?
In Australia, private health insurance is divided into two types: extras cover and hospital cover. While extras cover helps pay for non-Medicare-funded healthcare services like dental and optical, hospital cover can provide financial coverage for the costs of being treated as a private patient in a hospital.
Hospital cover is divided into four levels: basic, bronze, silver, and gold. Bronze tier hospital policies are the second-lowest level of health cover available and can cover many of the costs of being treated as a private patient in either a public or private hospital. These costs may include:
- Hospital accommodation
- Consultations with doctors, specialists, and anaesthetists
- Tests administered as an inpatient prior to surgery (or post-op in the hospital) such as x-rays, CT and MRI scans
- Surgery costs or other treatments received as an inpatient including theatre fees
- The cost of many medications and pharmaceuticals given to a private inpatient
- Allied health services provided to an inpatient such as physiotherapists, chiropractors and occupational therapists
What does a bronze hospital insurance policy cover?
Bronze hospital cover policies are required to offer all the categories provided under basic cover, as well as additional bronze-specific categories, as a minimum.
Basic hospital cover policies must offer coverage for:
- Hospital psychiatric services
- Palliative care
Next comes the additional 18 clinical categories which are required to be offered as a minimum with a bronze policy. These are:
- Brain and nervous system
- Eye (not cataracts)
- Ear, nose and throat
- Tonsils, adenoids and grommets
- Bone, joint and muscle
- Joint reconstructions
- Kidney and bladder
- Male reproductive system
- Digestive system
- Hernia and appendix
- Gastrointestinal endoscopy
- Miscarriage and termination of pregnancy
- Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy for cancer
- Pain management
- Breast surgery (medically necessary)
- Diabetes management (excluding insulin pumps)
What’s the difference between a bronze and silver hospital policy?
Bronze and silver policies differ in the level of cover they provide, with silver policies offering more extensive cover than bronze policies. While bronze policies provide cover for a minimum of 21 clinical categories, silver policies add another eight clinical categories onto the cover, including:
- Heart and vascular system
- Lung and chest
- Back, neck and spine
- Plastic and reconstructive surgery (medically necessary)
- Dental surgery
- Podiatric surgery
- Implantation of hearing devices
Silver policies may also offer lower out-of-pocket costs and more flexible excess options. However, with more extensive cover comes higher premiums, so bronze policies are typically cheaper than silver cover. As such, it's important to weigh up the benefits of silver vs bronze cover against the additional cost when deciding which tier of policy is right for you.
How do I compare bronze health insurance policies?
When comparing bronze health insurance policies in Australia, there are several factors to compare before making your final decision. These include:
- Cost: the cost of a bronze policy may vary tremendously depending on the particular provider, with some bronze policies being cheaper than others. At this level of cover, it’s important to compare policies carefully to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
- Excess amount: an excess is the amount you’ll have to pay if you make a claim on your policy. Check whether the policy has a yearly limit on the excess you may have to pay, which may provide more value for money if you require multiple hospital stays in one financial year.
- Co-payments: some policies require you to make a co-payment per night if you have a hospital stay. These can range from zero to around $100 a night, although this will depend on your insurer.
- Inclusions and exclusions: review the policy's product information documents carefully to understand what is and isn’t covered in your policy. This can help you choose a policy that best suits your needs.
- Special offers: keep an eye out for special offers which health funds may advertise to attract new customers. These may include free weeks’ coverage, gift cards, bonus healthcare offers and more.
What is a bronze plus policy?
A bronze plus health insurance policy is one which provides more benefits than the minimum required under a standard bronze policy. They typically cover all the standard clinical categories, as well as at least one additional treatment which isn’t covered by a typical bronze policy. These additional treatments may include procedures such as:
- pregnancy and birth
- joint replacements
- cataract surgery
By choosing a bronze plus policy, individuals can gain access to more healthcare services than with a standard bronze policy, while still enjoying lower premiums compared to higher-level silver or gold policies.
Types of health insurance
This can help you pay for medical treatment if you need to be admitted to hospital. It can help cover the cost of your admission or accommodation and the fees charged by doctors, surgeons and anaesthetists. It can also cover other costs associated with a stay in a private hospital.
This helps cover the costs of health care treatments outside a hospital setting which aren’t covered by Medicare. This can include major and minor dental treatment, orthodontics, hearing aids, physiotherapy, glasses, contact lenses and podiatry (in most cases with annual limits).
This is a standard health insurance policy designed for a single person, rather than being tailored to cater to the needs of a couple or family. It may include hospital cover plus extras, or either of these types of insurance on their own, depending on what you're after for your health cover.
A family health insurance policy is designed for a family unit including dependent children who may reach up to 31 years of age with some insurers. It offers private health insurance suitable for the whole family and may include shared limits for all members included in your policy.
A health insurance policy aimed at seniors is designed to appeal to people who are in the second half of their life. These are often specific Silver Plus policies that offer the same cover as other health insurance policies, with the exception that pregnancy and childbirth cover may not be included.
Visitors who are in Australia on a temporary basis for travel, work or study may be able to take out Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC). Many visas issued in Australia come with a requirement to take out this type of insurance, which covers visitors who may not be covered by Medicare.
Ambulance cover is generally available either packaged into your private health insurance or on its own as a separate policy or subscription. By having this protection, you could be covered for all eligible ambulance travel in Australia (subject to your insurer's terms and conditions).
The cheapest and most barebones form of private hospital insurance, this can include cover for rehab, in-hospital psychiatric services and palliative care. Having this policy will enable you to avoid paying the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) and Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading.
Bronze hospital cover is a step up from basic insurance, including 18 further clinical categories such as ear, nose and throat, bone, joint and muscle, digestive system, joint reconstructions, gynaecology and chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy for cancer.
Silver hospital cover is the second-most expensive type of policy and offers the second-most clinical categories. On top of what's offered by basic and bronze cover, it also includes heart and vascular system, lung and chest, blood, hearing device implantation and dental surgery.
The highest level of private hospital insurance available in Australia, gold policies can offer cover for pregnancy and birth, weight loss surgery, assisted reproductive services and insulin pumps on top of all the categories provided by silver, bronze and basic hospital insurance.
Why compare health insurance through Savvy?
Frequently asked questions about bronze hospital cover policies
Helpful health insurance guides
Looking for health insurance to cover your condition or treatment?
Read one of our helpful guides on a range of different ailments and potential hospital or extras treatments to help you find out if they're covered.
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Any advice presented above or on other pages is general in nature and doesn’t consider your personal or business objectives, needs or finances. It’s always important to consider whether advice is suitable for you before purchasing an insurance policy.
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