Over 60s Health Insurance

Looking for health insurance when you’re over 60? Get quotes here and compare policies through Savvy.

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, updated on July 6th, 2023       

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

Reaching 60 is a major milestone for many Aussies. It’s also a time when people may start thinking about their plans for the future, including retirement. These plans may include taking a look at their health insurance to make sure they have the right cover for the years ahead.

If you’re thinking about a review of your health insurance needs, Savvy can help. You can compare these free quotes side-by-side to make sure you’re getting the best deal available from a panel of leading health insurers. Start your review of health insurance here today with Savvy.

What are my health insurance options when I’m over 60?

Private health insurance policies for seniors over 60 are the same as those for younger adults in Australia. This is due to Australia’s community rating health insurance laws, which mean all residents are entitled to the same health cover, regardless of age or health status. This means you'll be offered the same health cover whether you're over 50 or under 30.  However, some health insurance policies may be more suitable for Aussies who are older and have more complex health needs, as they offer a wider range of cover areas.

There are two main types of health insurance in Australia. Hospital cover can assist you with the cost of hospital admission, while extras cover can help with the costs of healthcare received in the community, such as dental or optical treatments or hearing aids.

Hospital cover

This form of health insurance covers the cost of hospital treatment as an in-patient. You can be treated as a private patient either in a public or private hospital and may enable you to access a private room depending on availability. It can cover areas such as:

  • The cost of admission, theatre and recovery ward fees
  • Fees charged by doctors, surgeons, anaesthetists
  • Surgery and other treatment fees, including tests performed while you’re admitted to hospital
  • The cost of medications and pharmaceuticals provided to in-patients
  • Additional health services provided such as pain management, dietary advice and physiotherapy while you’re in hospital

Hospital cover comes in four tiers. The Australian Government regulates the type of cover which must be provided at each of basic, bronze, silver and gold policies. This makes it easier to compare apples with apples when you’re looking at hospital policies as a senior. Hospital cover can also include insurance for ambulance transport, although this type of insurance can also be offered with extras cover or as a standalone policy.

Extras cover

This health cover assists with the cost of other health services required outside of hospital, such as optical, dental and hearing aids. The range of services it may cover includes:

  • Preventative and major dental work
  • Optical and hearing aids
  • Physiotherapy, chiropractic and podiatry services
  • Remedial massage
  • Dietetics
  • Speech therapy
  • Psychology
  • Vaccinations
  • Non-PBS medications
  • Other health and wellbeing services, such as assistance to manage weight loss or diabetes
  • Telehealth services

Extras cover is also available in different levels, although these aren’t as strictly regulated by the government, so there's more variation in cover. Many health funds offer incentives to new customers to join, such as waivers on certain waiting periods, free weeks’ cover or extra benefits such as loyalty programs or free gym membership.

How should I compare health insurance plans for seniors over 60?

When comparing health funds, it’s important to look at the health services you use and those you have no requirement for. There's little point paying top dollar for a policy which is dominated by services you’ll likely never use.

These are some of the questions to ask yourself when considering private health insurance as an older Australian:

  • What are my health needs now and what may they be in the future? Which level of cover offers the best range of treatments that I know I’ll use or would like to have available to me?
  • What are the inclusions and exclusions of the policy? Are there any exclusions in areas I need cover for?
  • How much excess can I afford to pay if I’m admitted to hospital? Do I want a more expensive policy with a lower excess, or a higher excess and lower premiums?
  • Are there any co-payments required for a hospital admission?
  • Does the policy offer ambulance cover bundled in? Do I need ambulance cover, or do I already have it included with another type of insurance?
  • What are the total benefit levels I can claim with the policy? Are these sufficient for my current healthcare needs or should I look at a higher-grade policy which may offer more cover?

Types of health insurance

Why compare health insurance through Savvy?

Frequently asked questions about health insurance for over 60s

If I don’t have private health insurance but am on a low income, will I have to pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge in my 60s?

If your income is less than $90,000 p.a. as a single, you won’t be required to pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge even if you don’t have health insurance. However, if you do decide to buy health insurance later on in life and have been uninsured for several years, it may cost you more, as you may have to pay the Lifetime Health Cover loading on top of the normal cost of your health fund premiums.

Will I have to pay more for my health insurance if I have pre-existing conditions in my 60s?

No – it’s illegal for health insurers in Australia to discriminate against anyone due to pre-existing health conditions, so you'll pay the same for your health insurance cover regardless of if you have diabetes, a history of heart problems or cancer.

Are there any age-related discounts available for health insurance for over 60s?

No – there aren’t any specific age-related discounts available, but you’ll end up paying less for your coverage due to increased private health insurance rebates from the government. Once you reach the age of 65, the rebate you can receive increases, and it goes up again once you reach age 70 years old, when you may be eligible for a rebate of up to 32% of the cost of your premiums.*

 *Correct as of March 2023 but subject to change

If I increase my level of hospital cover, will I have extra waiting periods?

This will depend on the waiting periods that you’ve previously served with the level of health cover you had. In general terms, you won’t have to re-serve waiting periods for treatment categories you’ve already completed.

Is there any upper age limit for taking out private health insurance?

No, there is no upper age limit on when you can take out a private health insurance policy in Australia. Under Australia's community rating health insurance system, it is illegal to discriminate against anyone based on their age, gender or pre-existing health conditions. 

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