Health Insurance Costs

 Compare the cost of health insurance online with Savvy today. 

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, updated on July 6th, 2023       

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Health Insurance Banner

We’ve partnered with Compare Club to bring you a range of health insurance policies to help you compare them side by side.

The cost of private health insurance is determined by a range of factors. By understanding the variables at play and comparing your options thoroughly, you may stand a higher chance of finding health insurance which provides the type and level of cover you require at a price you can afford. 

Get to understand the factors affecting the cost of private health insurance here with Savvy before getting your free quote for the cover you need. You'll be able to compare offers from a respected panel of insurers to bring you a range of 100% free, no-obligation quotes to consider. Start the process with Savvy today. 

What are the factors which affect the cost of health insurance?

Private health insurance in Australia is covered by two different types of health insurance policies, which cover different purposes: 

  • Hospital cover: can provide cover when a patient is admitted to hospital for treatment 
  • Extras cover: can provide cover for non-hospital treatments and services and preventative healthcare 

However, the average cost of each of these policies is influenced by the same factors, despite them offering different types of health insurance cover. These include: 

The type of policy you choose 

How much you pay for your health insurance will depend on the type of policy you choose to buy, which in turn will be influenced by the sort of health cover you and your family need. An extras policy will generally cost less than a hospital cover policy, while a combined policy will typically be the most expensive option. You can compare a range of different health insurance policies here with Savvy to gain a greater understanding of what types of policies are available. 

The tier of cover you choose 

Hospital insurance is strictly regulated by the Australian Government. All tiers of hospital cover must by law offer coverage for a set number of clinical categories. There are four tiers of hospital insurance available, and the level of cover offered increases as the cost of the policy rises. The four levels are: 

  • Basic – offers cover only for limited treatments, such as psychiatric services, palliative care and rehabilitation  
  • Bronze – offers all the above cover, plus cover for an additional 18 clinical categories 
  • Silver – offers cover for up to 29 further clinical categories 
  • Gold – offers top-level cover for all listed clinical categories 

If you choose a basic hospital cover policy, you’ll only be insured for treatment for the three clinical categories mentioned above. Therefore, if you require hospital treatment for another condition, such as appendicitis, you wouldn’t be covered and would have to pay the full cost of your hospital admission and surgery yourself if you chose to be treated as a private patient.   

With extras cover, the levels of coverage are less clearly defined. More expensive policies generally offer a higher level of cover, higher claimable limits and more included services. For example, a cheaper extras policy may allow you to claim back 50% or 60% of the cost of treatment, whilst a more expensive top-level policy may allow you to claim back 75% to 100%.  

Similarly, extras policies provide a set dollar limit to the amount you can claim for each clinical category. These dollar limits reset each year. Cheaper policies typically offer lower limits, whilst more expensive policies will offer higher benefit amounts. For example, on a cheaper extras policy, you may be able to claim back up to $1,000 a year on major dental, whereas a more expensive policy may allow you to claim up to $3,000.  

For this reason, when choosing between levels of health insurance, it’s important to think about what your health needs are now and what they may be in the future. You can get quotes for all types of health insurance right now online here with Savvy. 

The excess and co-payments you’re prepared to pay 

  • Excesses: with hospital cover, you may be required to pay an excess if you need to make a claim on your policy. An excess is a set amount you must make as a contribution towards the cost of your claim. Excess amounts can range from zero to a maximum of $750 for a single person, or $1,500 for a family policy. The lower the excess you choose to pay, the higher your premiums will be. For example, a silver policy with a $750 excess will cost less than a silver policy with a $250 excess. 
  • Co-payments: co-payments are another out-of-pocket expense which you may have to pay if you’re admitted to hospital, depending on the exact terms and conditions of the policy you buy. They average around $100 per day you spend in hospital, up to a capped limit of around $700.

The rebates and reductions you may be entitled to 

The Australian Government offers assistance with the cost of paying for health insurance. The Private Health Insurance Rebate you are entitled to will depend on your income and age, with older Australians, and those who earn less than $90,000 a year, receiving more assistance. In addition, all taxpayers are required to pay the Medicare Levy, which is a 2% tax on your income which helps pay for the Medicare system. However, depending on your age and income, you may also be entitled to an exemption from paying the levy (for example, if you earn less than $23,365p.a.* as a single person). You can use a health insurance calculator to work out how much Medicare Levy you have to pay, and how much private health insurance rebate you are entitled to. 

*Figures correct as of February 2023, but subject to change. 

How can I reduce the cost of my private health insurance?

Sometimes it's necessary to cut back on household expenses, for example if someone suffers a period of unemployment. In such circumstances, it may be necessary to look for ways to save money. There are various ways you can reduce the cost of your private health insurance. These include: 

  • Compare policies through Savvy – by requesting a range of quotes through Savvy, you can get a good idea of the range of health cover available and the comparative prices from our partner’s panel of insurance providers. All Savvy quotes are 100% free and come with no obligation, so you can get comparing and potentially save yourself money today!  
  • Look at the level of cover you’re currently paying for – do you need cover for all the clinical categories you are paying for? For example, if you have a gold tier policy which includes cover for pregnancy but have no intention of growing your family, you may be paying more for insurance you don’t need. If you decide to switch to a lower level of cover, you won’t have to serve any waiting periods again if you’ve already sat out your waiting period with your first policy. 
  • Think about your excess – by increasing the size of your excess payment, you may be able to reduce the cost of your monthly premiums. For example, a silver policy with a $250 excess will cost more than a silver policy with a $750 excess.  
  • Check providers in your local area – many health insurers are networked with particular providers, who agree to charge a reduced gap for that particular insurer’s clients. Determine whether the practitioners you use are affiliated with any particular health insurers, as this could help you get the maximum value from your policy. 
  • Purchase your health insurance before the age of 31 – if you reach the age of 31 and do not have health insurance, you may have to pay both the Medicare Levy Surcharge (which is between 1% and 1.5% of your income for that financial year, depending on your income level) and the Lifetime Health Cover loading (which is a 2% loading you have to pay on the price of your health care premiums for a total of 10 years).  There are also age-related discounts which may be available, equivalent to a reduction of 2% for each year you purchase a health insurance policy under the age of 30, capped at a maximum reduction of 10%.  

Types of health insurance

Why compare health insurance through Savvy?

Frequently asked questions about the cost of private health insurance

Does the cost of private health insurance reduce as you get older?

No – health insurance in Australia is community-rated, which means everyone pays the same basic price for their health insurance. It is illegal to discriminate against anyone based on their age or prior medical history. Where costs may differ for older Australians is in the rebates and reductions available from the government.   

If I’m going away for a while, can I pause my health insurance to save costs?

Yes – if you happen to be leaving the country for work, study or travel, some insurers will allow you to pause your health insurance for the period you won’t be needing it. The length of time you’re able to pause your insurance will vary according to which provider you choose. However, you may have to pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge for that period in any one year that you were uninsured. Check with your insurer to understand how a health insurance pause may affect your waiting periods and MLS requirements.   

Does extras insurance cover 100% of the cost of treatments not covered by Medicare?

It can, though this will depend on the level of extras cover you purchase and the terms and conditions of your extras policy. For example, if you choose a policy with an insurer that has its own network of private dentists and optometrists, you may be able to get basic dental and optical services with 100% cash back and no gap.  

Does the Australian Government help low-income earners with the cost of private health insurance?

There are several schemes in place to either assist low-income earners with the cost of private health insurance or, in some cases, to provide treatment free of charge. For example, the Child Dental Benefits Schedule provides free basic dental care for children whose parents are recipients of some Centrelink benefits. Check whether there are any schemes that may be able to help you before you buy your policy. 

Is the cost of a couples policy cheaper than singles policies?

No, you will pay almost the same for a couples policy covering two adults as you would for two singles policies. Therefore, if you're choosing between a singles vs a couples policy, factors such as do you both have similar healthcare needs and want the same level of cover are more important considerations. 

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