We’ve partnered with Compare Club to bring you a range of health insurance policies to help you compare them side by side.
For many Australians, reaching 50 is a significant milestone which brings major changes to life. Perhaps your children have now left home or are starting families of their own? You may have settled into your chosen career and you may just begin to notice your body has slowed down a little compared to when you were younger. For this reason, it’s crucial to ensure you have the most suitable health insurance to cover you in your older years.
Savvy can help you find and compare a range of health insurance policies that offer a wide choice of cover for adults over 50. Our free online comparison service can help you consider policies side-by-side from a panel of leading insurers with no obligation to help you see what's available and determine whether you need to switch or upgrade your health insurance policy. Start comparing here through Savvy today.
What health insurance options are there for over 50s?
There are two main types of health insurance available in Australia, which can offer cover for certain treatments received both inside and outside of hospital. Having both types of insurance will provide you with the most comprehensive cover if you require different types of health services and treatments as an adult over 50.
Hospital cover can help you with the cost of treatment if you’re admitted to hospital. It can cover:
- Consultations with doctors, anaesthetists and other specialists once you’re admitted to hospital
- Costs associated with being admitted to a private hospital or public hospital as a private patient (if private beds are available)
- Costs associated with receiving surgery (such as theatre and recovery ward fees)
- Cost of tests administered as part of your treatment while an inpatient (such as blood tests, CT scans and x-rays)
- Allied health services such as pain management or psychology services received after your treatment while still an inpatient
- Ambulance cover*
*Not included under all hospital insurance policies. Ambulance cover differs between states and territories, with some states affording residents free cover either within their state or nationally.
Hospital cover is available in four different tiers: basic, bronze, silver and gold. The Australian Government regulates which services must be provided at each level, making it easier to compare similar policies side-by-side. A basic hospital cover policy will be the cheapest, but will only offer very limited cover if you’re admitted to hospital. On the other hand, a gold policy offers the top level of cover for all clinical categories at the greatest cost.
Extras cover is health insurance which will assist you with the cost of treatments and services received out of a hospital setting which aren’t covered by Medicare. It can cover areas such as:
- Dental (both preventative, minor and major treatments)
- Optical (glasses, contact lenses)
- Physiotherapy and chiropractic treatments
- Speech pathology
- Hearing tests and hearing aids
- Remedial massage
- Non-PBS medications
- Wellness and lifestyle programs
It’s also available at different levels of cover, although these aren’t as strictly regulated by the government as hospital coverage is. Therefore, extras cover tends to vary more between health funds.
- The cheapest policies will offer fewer benefits, so you’ll likely have more out-of-pocket expenses. For example, you may only be able to claim 50% of the cost of seeing a dentist.
- More expensive extras policies may reimburse you up to 85% or more of the cost of seeing a dentist, physio or chiropractor.
Savvy can help you compare these different types and levels of health insurance all in one place. If you require assistance, you can request a call back from a health insurance specialist, who can talk you through the process and make sure your policy purchase goes smoothly.
How do I compare health insurance policies for over 50s?
In Australia, health insurance policies for seniors are no different than those offered to any other age group. When comparing policies, it’s important to consider several factors which may help you decide which type of cover is the most appropriate for your health needs as someone aged over 50. Ask yourself the following questions to help narrow down your choice:
What are my current health needs?
Think about all the health care services you’ve received in the past year and any treatments you’ve required. For instance, if you regularly visit a chiropractor or a physiotherapist, an extras policy may well be worth considering if it provides sufficient cover in these areas.
What health services may I need in the future?
Although none of us have a crystal ball to see into the future, it's possible to anticipate to a certain extent what health services you may need in the future. Think about your dental, optical, physio and chiropractic needs, as well as how much hospital treatment you may require in the future.
What private health facilities are available in my area?
Think about the health facilities available in your region. Those living in metropolitan areas may have ample choice when it comes to private hospitals, whereas Aussies living in remote areas may not have as many options. Consider whether it’s worth having the type of private health cover you’re after if there are very few relevant facilities in your local area.
Your choice of health cover should reflect your current and potential future health needs, prioritising those areas of cover which you'll use. For example, a gold tier hospital policy offers cover for pregnancy and fertility treatments, which you may not need, but it also provides cover for sleep studies and cataracts, which may be of more relevance to someone aged over 50.
How much does private health insurance cost for over 50s?
The cost of your health insurance may depend on several factors, including:
- What level of cover you choose to buy, both for hospital and extras cover
- How much you’ve selected as your excess and/or co-payment (higher payments in these areas may lead to cheaper premiums)
- Whether you buy a singles policy, a couples policy or family cover (if you still have dependents living at home)
- How much private health insurance rebate you’re entitled to (which is based on your income)
- Whether you have to pay the Lifetime Health Cover loading (which applies to those who didn't have private health insurance for a period after turning 31)
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 health insurance for over 50s
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.
Savvy is partnered with Compare Club Australia Pty Ltd (AFS representative number 001279036) of Alternative Media Pty Ltd (AFS License number 486326) to provide readers with a variety of health insurance policies to compare. Savvy earns a commission from Compare Club each time a customer buys a health insurance policy via our website. We don’t arrange for products to be purchased from these brands directly, as all purchases are conducted via Compare Club.
Savvy’s comparison service is provided by Compare Club. Compare Club compares selected products from a panel of trusted insurers and does not compare all products in the market.
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.
For any further information on the variety of insurers compared by Compare Club or how their business works, you can read their Financial Services Guide.